10 Most Venomous Snakes in North America

Most Venomous Snakes in North America
Photo by Benoit Terrier

One of the top reasons why people fear snakes is that they are known to be vicious creatures that can cause adverse reactions and even death in some cases.

There are over 3,000 species of snakes worldwide and over 700 species in North America alone! The following ten snakes make up the top 10 most venomous snakes in North America, so they reside in the United States or Canada; it’s best to stay away from them!

1. Cottonmouth

The cottonmouth, known as the water moccasin, is a snake native to the southeastern United States. It is one of the most venomous snakes in North America and a member of the viper family.

The cottonmouth is named from the white lining of its mouth, which is visible when the snake is threatened. 

The snake’s venom is hemotoxic, which breaks down red blood cells and prevents clotting. A bite from a cottonmouth can be fatal to humans if not treated immediately.

A bite from this type of snake is usually more deadly than other venomous bites because the symptoms are so severe. 

Cottonmouths have also been found to produce neurotoxins and cardiotoxins, two different types of toxins that affect the body differently.

Cardiotoxins cause fluid to build up in the lungs, while neurotoxins affect muscle movement and respiratory functions. 

A person bitten by a cottonmouth should seek medical attention as soon as possible. First aid for a person bitten by a cottonmouth includes:

  • Washing off the wound with soap and water.
  • Cleaning it with alcohol before applying an antibiotic ointment.
  • Cover it with a clean cloth bandage.

2. Timber rattlesnake

The timber rattlesnake, banded rattlesnake, or canebrake rattlesnake is a species of venomous pit viper native to the eastern United States.

It is the heaviest and one of the longest venomous snakes in North America. Adults usually grow to 3–5 ft (0.91–1.52 m), with a maximum recorded length of 8 ft 1 in (2.46 m). 

The maximum reported age for this species is 26 years. This snake’s primary diet consists of small mammals, such as rodents and birds. When provoked, it will often coil up with its head pointed towards the ground, ready to strike. 

Its rattle warns other animals of its presence by emitting a loud noise when vibrating against dry leaves or grasses. If molested, it will lash out aggressively.

If frightened, it may repeatedly strike even though they have short fangs that do not pierce enough to inject much venom unless it bites often. 

In this case, an allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis is a risk. A bite from a timber rattlesnake does not always result in immediate symptoms because sometimes their venom must first travel down the limb to be absorbed into the bloodstream. 

Symptoms typically include localized pain, swelling, paralysis, bruising, and discoloration around the bite site. Other symptoms may occur depending on how much venom was injected, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting blood, dizziness, and low blood pressure.

3. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is among the most venomous snakes in North America and is found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. The snake’s venom can cause severe tissue damage, bleeding, and even death. 

If a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake bites you, you should seek medical attention immediately. You may need to go to the nearest hospital for antivenin treatment if your symptoms worsen or don’t improve after 24 hours. 

You will also need to see a doctor for other treatments that you may need, such as antibiotics. Luckily, an anti-venom is available that can lessen the effects of the bite. You have a good chance of surviving this bite with prompt medical care. 

On average, fewer than five people die from a rattlesnake bite yearly. Make sure you understand what to do if you’re ever bitten by a rattlesnake so that you’re able to survive!

4. Eastern Coral Snake

The eastern coral snake is one of the most venomous snakes in North America. It is a member of the Elapidae family, which includes cobras, mambas, and sea snakes. The eastern coral snake is usually found in the southeastern United States, from Florida to Virginia. 

It is a small snake, usually only growing to be about three feet long. The eastern coral snake’s venom is neurotoxic and attacks the nervous system. A bite from this snake can cause paralysis and even death. 

If an eastern coral snake bites you, you must seek medical help immediately. Unlike other snake bites, there is no anti-venom for the eastern coral snake’s poison.

Symptoms include trouble breathing and convulsions, loss of muscle control (including swallowing), rapid heart rate, excessive salivation or sweating, low blood pressure (sometimes leading to shock), pupil dilation, slurred speech, or difficulty speaking, and drooping eyelids.

5. Eastern diamondback rattlesnake

The eastern diamondback is the largest of all rattlesnakes and one of the most venomous snakes in North America. It is found in the southeastern United States, from Florida to Texas. The snake’s venom is a potent neurotoxin that can cause paralysis and even death. 

If an eastern diamondback bites you, seek medical help immediately. Rattlesnake bites often do not produce any immediate symptoms, so it is crucial to identify the snake that bit you if possible.

While there are many treatments for rattlesnake bites, they will likely result in death or severe permanent damage if left untreated. 

There is no anti-venom available for this species. Symptoms include headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, abdominal pain, rapid heart rate, and breathing difficulties. 

Other symptoms may include slurred speech and blurred vision. If a bite victim has these symptoms but no evidence of poisoning (i.e., snakebite), they should visit the hospital just in case their health issues stem from something else, such as a stroke or brain tumor.

6. Prairie Rattlesnake

The prairie rattlesnake is one of the most venomous snakes in North America, and it is found in the western United States, from Montana to Texas. The snake’s venom is a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis and even death. 

If a prairie rattlesnake bites you, you should seek medical attention immediately. Many treatments are available for bites, including antivenin.

A bite victim who doesn’t receive treatment may experience kidney failure, respiratory failure, shock, or cardiac arrest within hours of being bitten. 

Snakebite victims treated with antivenin may need to be hospitalized because they could develop some of these symptoms later.

Some people who survive severe cases can suffer long-term disabilities such as muscle spasms, chronic pain, and permanent changes in mental capacity.

7. Copperhead Snake

The copperhead snake is among the most venomous snakes in North America. These snakes are found in the eastern and central United States, and their bites can be fatal to humans. Copperhead snakes are usually between two and four feet long and have copper-colored heads. 

If you see a copperhead snake, it’s crucial to stay away from it and call it animal control. It would help if you watched for symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, blurry vision, or trouble breathing. 

Snake bite kits are available at most pharmacies to help reduce the damage done by a snake bite. If you suspect that a copperhead snake has bitten someone, seek medical attention immediately and try to find the dead or injured snake so that you can test it for the presence of poison.

8. Mojave Rattlesnake

The Mojave rattlesnake is one of the most venomous snakes in North America and is found in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. The Mojave rattlesnake is a giant snake, with some adults reaching lengths of over 8 feet. 

The snake’s venom is highly toxic and can cause severe illness or death in humans if not treated promptly. The Mojave rattlesnake is shy and not aggressive but will strike if provoked. If you encounter a Mojave rattlesnake, it is best to leave it alone and give it a wide berth. 

People rarely encounter them, so the chances of being bitten are slim. If bitten by a Mojave rattlesnake, immediately seek medical attention and be prepared for antivenin treatment. There is no anti-venom available that treats all types of snake bites. 

The type of antivenin depends on the kind of snake bite and its severity. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bleeding, blistering, and necrosis (dead tissue).

9. Tiger Rattlesnake

The Tiger Rattlesnake is among the most venomous snakes in North America and is found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. The snake’s venom is a potent neurotoxin that can cause paralysis and death. 

The snake is aggressive and will often strike without warning. If a Tiger Rattlesnake bites you, you should seek medical help immediately. In the meantime, stay calm and lie down to reduce swelling around the bite area. 

Keep your hands off the wound if possible because any contact with it could worsen or even worsen it. Stay as still as possible until help arrives. Do not use tourniquets or try to suck out the venom with your mouth!

10. Black Diamond Rattlesnake

The black diamond rattlesnake, also known as the western diamondback rattlesnake, is a venomous snake found in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

It is considered one of the most dangerous snakes in North America due to its large size, high venom yield, potent venom, and frequent bites on humans. 

The black diamond rattlesnake is responsible for more human fatalities than any other snake in the region. The black diamond rattlesnake is the largest and most dangerous of all the rattlesnakes.

And it can weigh up to 10 pounds and grow up to 7 feet long, and the black diamond rattlesnake has a very potent venom that can cause severe injury or death to humans.

Conclusion

The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is the most venomous snake in North America and one of the world’s most venomous snakes.

The Timber Rattlesnake is the fourth most venomous snake in North America and one of the world’s most venomous snakes. These venomous snakes are very dangerous, and one must be very careful.

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