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Coral Snake


Topic Overview

Coral snakesClick here to see an illustration. are found in tropical regions of North America and are often confused with nonpoisonous (nonvenomous) milk snakes because they look similar.

A coral snake can be up to 3 ft (1 m) long and has:

  • Red, yellow, and black bands along the length of the body.
  • Round pupils and a black nose.
  • Fangs. Coral snakes tend to chew on their victims for a few seconds and may leave tooth marks with or without fang marks.

At first, mild pain may be the only symptom of a coral snake bite. Within 90 minutes, a feeling of weakness or numbness may occur in the bitten extremity.

Other symptoms may appear up to 12 to 24 hours after a bite. Symptoms may include:

  • Increased salivation and drooling.
  • Drowsiness or euphoria.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Numbness and tingling (paresthesia).

Symptoms that occur less often include double vision, difficulty breathing, sweating, muscle aches, and confusion. In rare cases, a person may die from a coral snake bite.

If you think you have been bitten by a coral snake, callor other emergency services immediately.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerSean P. Bush, MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine, Envenomation Specialist
Last RevisedJune 18, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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