21 Most Venomous Snakes in the US

Most Venomous Snakes in the US
Photo by Foto-Rabe

Have you ever wondered what are the most venomous snakes in the US? On every continent other than Antarctica, you can find various kinds of poisonous snakes. There are Roughly 600 distinct species of venomous snakes across the globe.

These serpents range widely in terms of length, coloration, and patterning, and each one is a little bit unique compared to the others.

The environment along the equator and in the tropics is ideal for the diverse range of reptile species, including many of the world’s poisonous snakes found in those regions.

The United States is home to a somewhat wide variety of poisonous snakes. There are venomous snakes in virtually every state in the United States; however, certain states are home to a greater diversity of snake species than others.

In this piece, we will discuss 21 species of the most venomous snakes in the US you may come into contact with.

1. Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)

The Pacific Rattlesnake has an extensive range that encompasses much of the Pacific Northwest and can be discovered as far north as British Columbia in Canada.

The appearance of Pacific Rattlesnakes will alter throughout their lives, beginning with patterns quite obvious when they are youngsters but becoming less noticeable as they age.

They have an average length of approximately 40 inches. There are six different subspecies found in the US:

  • Canyon del Grand Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus abyssus)
  • Coronado Island Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus caliginis)
  • Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus Cerberus)
  • Yellow Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus concolor)
  • Great Basin. Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus)
  • North Pacific Ocean Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)

2. Twin-Spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei)

With an average length of between 20 and 24 inches at maturity, the Twin-Spotted Rattlesnake is one of the miniature and most venomous snakes in the US on this list. Their distribution is fairly restricted, and they are only spotted in a few distinct regions around Southern Arizona at any given time.

3. Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber)

The usual length of a Red Diamond Rattlesnake is between 40 and 55 inches, making it one of the larger species of rattlesnake. They prefer a slightly colder climate along the shore and inhabit most of the Baja Peninsula in Southern California. However, they also prefer desert areas and the highlands.

4. Tiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris)

The Tiger Rattlesnake is one of the most venomous snakes in the US. However, despite their diminutive size (they only reach a maximum of 24 inches in length), their venom can be quite dangerous.

Unlike many other species of rattlesnakes, these rattlesnakes can be found not only on the ground but also in bushes, shrubs, and even in the water. Other kinds of rattlesnakes are found only on the ground.

5. Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)

Prairie Rattlesnakes can be found all over the United States, from the Great Plains to as far south as northern Mexico and north as southern Canada. Their range is so large that they can adapt to various environments.

They consume anything from mammals to birds to reptiles and amphibians due to their wide range, resulting in a quite varied diet. On average, they are around 1 meter (3.3 feet) long.

In the United States, you can find any of these two subspecies:

  • Hopi Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis nuntius)
  • Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus Viridis)

6. Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)

Even though only a handful of these snakes inhabit Southern Arizona and New Mexico, the Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake has been designated as the official state reptile of Arizona.

They are shorter, reaching a maximum length of just 2 feet, and are known for living rather solitary lives. Because they exclusively reside in forested mountain ranges, it can be exceedingly challenging to locate them.

In the United States, you can find any of these two subspecies:

  • New Mexican Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi obscurus)
  • Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)

7. Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus)

Moving on our list of most venomous snakes in the US is the Massasauga Rattlesnakes, found in many locations across the United States, from Arizona to New York.

It is not exceptionally particular about its environment and can thrive in grasslands, wetlands, and swamps. In most cases, their length falls between 24 and 30 inches.

Although the IUCN classifies Massasauga Rattlesnakes as a species of “Least Concern,” their populations are declining in certain portions of their range.

In the United States, you can find all three of these subspecies:

  • Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus)
  • Desert Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus edwardsii)
  • Western Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus tergeminus)

8. Cottonmouth/ Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorous)

Cottonmouths are pit vipers, just like rattlesnakes, and as such, they have specific organs that allow them to detect changes in temperature, which they use to their advantage when hunting.

The southeastern region of the United States is home to a large population of cottonmouths, which may typically be found around bodies of water. On average, they grow to be 31 inches.

In the United States, you can find all three of these subspecies:

  • Florida Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorous conanti)
  • Western Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorous leucostoma)
  • Eastern Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorous piscivorous)

9. Eastern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)

Cottonmouths and copperheads belong to the same genus and share many similarities; they also happen to be among the most venomous snakes in the US. Nonetheless, most people do not consider them to be the same animal.

This may be because cottonmouths and copperheads are known to inhabit very different kinds of environments. Copperheads can grow to be between 20 and 37 inches long and enjoy living in wooded settings.

In the United States, there are five subspecies of the copperhead snake:

  • Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen)
  • Southern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix)
  • Broad Banded Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus)
  • Trans-Pecos Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix pictigaster)
  • Osage Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix phaeogaster)

10. Eastern Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius)

Elapidae is a family of snakes that contains the krait, cobras, and king cobras. Coral snakes are a member of this family. They possess potent venom that, in some cases, can be fatal.

The average length of an Eastern Coral Snake is approximately 30 inches. They have black, red, and yellow stripes that run down their bodies. Their potent venom puts them on the list of most venomous snakes in the US.

11. Texas Coral Snake (Micrurus tener)

The Eastern Coral Snake and the Texas Coral Snake have a striking resemblance, and the Texas Coral Snake was formerly thought to be a subspecies of the Eastern Coral Snake. The Texas Coral Snake can grow to a maximum length of 24 inches and, on average, is somewhat smaller than its cousins.

12. Sonoran Coral Snake (Micruruoides euryxanthus)

It is possible to encounter a Sonoran Coral Snake in the southwestern region of the United States. They are incredibly elusive and spend most of their time underground, although they will venture above ground to hunt at night. The length of a fully grown Sonoran Coral Snake can range anywhere from 11 to 24 inches.

13. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

Within the southwest region of the United States, one of the most common rattlesnake species is the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. They reach an average height of between 4 and 6 feet as adults, with adult males growing significantly taller than adult females.

The bites from these snakes account for most of the fatalities caused by poisonous snakes in the United States, making them one of the most venomous snakes in the US.

14. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

The diamondback terrapin of the east According to Wildlife Informer’s list of the largest poisonous snakes in the world and among the most venomous snakes in the US, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is the largest species of the Rattlesnake genus and is also one of the largest venomous snakes overall.

The typical length of an Eastern Diamondback is between 5 and 6 feet, but these reptiles have capabilities of reaching lengths of up to nearly 8 feet.

15. Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes)

The sidewinder got its name because of how it moves. Sidewinders can gain traction on desert sand by moving their coils in a lateral direction, as you would have imagined. They can travel at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour because of how they move.

They range between 19.5 to 31.5 inches in length on average. There are three recognised subspecies of this animal:

  • Mojave Desert Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes cerastes)
  • Sonoran Desert Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes cercobombus)
  • Colorado Desert Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes laterorepens)

16. Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)

The Mojave Rattlesnake venom is among the most powerful of all rattlesnake species. Because their venom attacks the neurological system and the bloodstream, this is a snake whose bite you absolutely do not want to receive! On average, the length of a mature Mojave Rattlesnake is around 1 meter and 0.3 feet.

17. Santa Catalina Rattlesnake (Crotalus catalinensis)

Isla Santa Catalina, located off the coast of Southern California, is the only place on earth where you may find the Santa Catalina Rattlesnake. The fact that this so-called rattlesnake does not, in fact, possess a rattle like the other members of its genus is an intriguing aspect of its appearance.

Santa Catalina Rattlesnakes grow up to 28 inches long, and these snakes make the list of highly endangered snake species.

18. Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

The Timber Rattlesnake is a species of rattlesnake that inhabits the areas of the United States that are located the farthest to the north. As implied by the name, One can find these Rattlesnakes in forested places amid rugged terrain. As they mature, they can get pretty enormous, averaging between three and five feet in length.

19. Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus)

The Rock Rattlesnake is a species of rattlesnake that is relatively small, reaching a maximum length of approximately 32 inches.

The rock rattlesnakes got their name because they prefer to live in regions with a lot of rocks or limestone. They have a light coloration, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings more easily.

In the United States, you can find any of these two subspecies:

  • Banded Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus Klauber)
  • Mottled Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus Lepidus)

20. Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii)

The speckled rattlesnake is one of the most venomous snakes in the US, Endemic to the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico.

Silas Mitchell, a medical researcher who focused his career on studying rattlesnake venom, is the inspiration behind naming this species. These reptiles reach an average length of about 39 inches as they mature.

In the United States, you can find all three of these subspecies:

  • Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli phyrrhus)
  • San Lucan Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli mitchelli)
  • Panamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli stephensi)

21. Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)

The Black-tailed Rattlesnake is native to the Southwestern region of the United States and can inhabit various habitats, including grasslands, woods, desert areas, and mountain ranges.

They are regarded as some of the most docile Rattlesnakes and are among the most venomous snakes in the US, but bites from this type of rattlesnake are quite uncommon.

They usually range in length from 30 to 42 inches, with females reaching a greater size than males. The United States is home to one of the subspecies as well:

  • Northern Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus molossus)
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