Most snakes are non-venomous and not aggressive unless threatened. There are 37 species of snakes found in North Carolina, but five venomous snakes cause the majority of snake bite poisonings.
- Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin)
- Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
- Pigmy Rattlesnake
- Timber Rattlesnake
Venomous Snake Characteristics
triangular or diamond-shaped head
elliptical or “cat-like”
long, movable fangs
facial pits located below the eyes
Non-venomous snake characteristics
smooth, tapered head
no fangs, have small teeth
Venomous snakes leave one or two puncture wounds.
If bitten by a snake, you SHOULD:
- Sit down and stay calm
- Gently wash the area with warm, soapy water
- Remove any jewelry or tight clothing near the bite site
- Keep the bitten area still, if possible, and raise it to heart level
- Call the Carolinas Poison Center: 1-800-222-1222.
If bitten by a snake, you SHOULD NOT:
- Cut the bitten area to try to drain the venom. This can worsen the injury.
- Ice the area. Icing causes additional tissue damage
- Make and apply a tourniquet or any tight bandage. It’s better for the venom to flow through the body than for it to stay in one area.
- Suck or use a suction device to remove the venom
- Attempt to catch or kill the snake.
If a snakebite victim is having chest pain, difficulty breathing, face swelling, or has lost consciousness, call 911 immediately.
Call Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for questions about a snake bite or for more information.