Northern Coral Snake

on December 8, 2011

From the tip of its snout to just behind the eye, the head of the Northern coral snake is black.


Northern Coral Snake

From the tip of its snout to just behind the eye, the head of the Northern coral snake is black. The tail is black and yellow, without any red rings. The Northern coral snake will swing or rattle its tail to confuse its predators. This feature did not become part of the animal’s behavior until after the Fall, when it began to be hunted by other animals.


  • The Northern coral snake is identified easily by its red, yellow, and black bands. However, it is often confused with a non-venomous milk snake with the same coloring, but different pattern. Remember the adage: Red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black, venom-lack (or friend of Jack). Also remember that the head of this poisonous snake is black.

Fun Facts

  • This snake spends most of its time under the soil and only strikes at humans when it feels threatened.
  • A coral snake has very short fangs so it bites its prey several times, twisting its head from side to side in order to squeeze venom into the wound.

Created Kind Members


CLASS: Reptilia (reptiles)
ORDER: Squamata (amphisbaenians, lizards, and snakes [scaly])
FAMILY: Elapidae (cobras, coral snakes, and kraits)
GENUS/SPECIES: Micrurus fulvius; 5 subspecies

Average Size: 20–30 in (51–76 cm)
Weight: 3–5 lbs (1.4–2.3 kg)
Original Diet: Plants
Present Diet: Mostly snakes; also lizards and frogs
Habitat: Dry woods, scrub areas, and low wet areas in the southeastern U.S. and northeastern Mexico

Zoo Guide

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