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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.

1)  Copperhead

2)  Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin)

3)  Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

4)  Pigmy Rattlesnake

5)  Timber Rattlesnake


Venomous Snake Characteristics


Non-venomous snake characteristics

triangular or diamond-shaped head

smooth, tapered head

elliptical or “cat-like”

round pupils

long, movable fangs

no fangs, have small teeth

facial pits located below the eyes

no pits

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.

Click here to download or print the poison center's snake brochure.

 Click here to download or print the poison center's snake poster.  

Click here to order a free snake pack from the Carolinas Poison Center.


American Copperhead
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Pigmy Rattlesnake
Timber Rattlesnake
Carolinas Poison Center    P.O. Box 32861    Charlotte  NC    28232-2861    1-800-222-1222  •  © 2017