coral snake?!

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most of the snakes you can get around here i'm now familiar with, but today i found a dead snake beside the road which looks like a coral snake -- something i haven't seen before... i know there's "the real deal" and non-venomous look-alikes... my local friends weren't able to enlighten me so i daresay it's not a common species... how does one know if it's a venomous or a harmless snake?!
sorry, posting pics is beyond my capabilities :( :( but hopefully my description helps: less than 2ft. long, small head (neither triangular like vipers nor diamond shape like bejuquilla), color: narrow yellow ring/ wide black ring/ narrow yellow ring/ wide red ring and so on...
 

C_Claycomb

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Oct 6, 2003
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Bedfordshire
That sounds like an Coral Snake. Doesn't sound like a mimic. Where exactly are you again?

Most of the resources for comparison with King Snakes, a mimic, are for the US Eastern Coral Snake, which is fairly easy to tell, as it works with the rhyme:
Red touch black, safe for Jack. Red touches yellow, kills a fellow

However, this is not reliable outside the US. There are a lot of variations in South America... :rolleyes3:

This source is excellent! Got the following image from them.

Just for Brazil!
Coral Snakes Brazil.JPG



Down at the bottom for New World, not everything has a link with a picture, but a lot do, and LOT are in South America.

On the plus side, as far as I can see, all coral snakes are pretty inoffensive, many nocturnal, seldom seen, fairly reluctant to bite. Some resources say they have to chew to inject venom, but that venom interviews site says this is a myth.
 
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thanks for the reply :)
none of the locals i've asked seems to know anything about coral snakes around here and in the more than 4years i'm here now i've encountered only four "ringed" snakes -- all of them dead and road kills... and the one yesterday is the first one with yellow rings... compared to many times that number of fer-de-lance (#1) and other pit viper species... ssoo they're obviously not very common...

as to my location: after more than a decade of walkabout around the country of all countries(commonly known as "Australia" <3 ), New Zealand, South Korea and Japan i ended up on the caribbean coast of Costa Rica (how much longer depends on my never-ending paperwork....)
 

JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
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Probably, but not before making a few sarcastic comments! :roflmao:

You know a picture would really help. It might be worth getting one of these new fangled devices called iPhones. That’d help me no end it determining whether you’ve found a snake or a worm that’s been hit by the double yellow road painting van. You know I got sent a rock this year from a woman who saw a snake on it in her garden and wanted me to tell her what species it was. The rock weighed an absolute ton and cost her a fortune to send. She wanted me to get its DNA off it.

Back to the question though. Yes, it sounds very much like a coral snake. You should have looked in its mouth for fangs. That would have been the clincher. And the clencher too usually.
 
You know a picture would really help. It might be worth getting one of these new fangled devices called iPhones. That’d help me no end it determining whether you’ve found a snake or a worm that’s been hit by the double yellow road painting van. You know I got sent a rock this year from a woman who saw a snake on it in her garden and wanted me to tell her what species it was. The rock weighed an absolute ton and cost her a fortune to send. She wanted me to get its DNA off it.

Back to the question though. Yes, it sounds very much like a coral snake. You should have looked in its mouth for fangs. That would have been the clincher. And the clencher too usually.
thanks for your reply (and your patience) :)
my current phone is slowly dying so i'll guess my next one will be one capable of taking pics and finding someone who can demonstrate a technological fossil (a.k.a. "me" :p )how to attach them to posts...

would the fangs on a coral snake be visible?! as far as i understand they're rather small...?!
i mentioned my find to another friend today and she told me that there are coral snakes here so it seems i didn't spot an earth worm after an encounter with a road painting van :p (but it seems they're not very common around here)
 
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TLM

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Nov 16, 2019
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Vantaa, Finland
You know I got sent a rock this year from a woman who saw a snake on it in her garden and wanted me to tell her what species it was. The rock weighed an absolute ton and cost her a fortune to send. She wanted me to get its DNA off it.
Sounds slightly extreme, do the scales have DNA?
 

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