ID venomous critters in your state

MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭
edited July 2021 in Predators & Loss

Just came across this site, useful for those in the US. It gives state-by-state lists of poisonous snakes, spiders and scorpions, with clear descriptions and photos. It's a good check list to know what you might encounter in your region, and recognize it if you do--or when camping/hunting etc. in another state.

And just for fun, and something less creepy, here's a great article about garter snakes from Old Farmer's Almanac


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,602 admin

    @MaryRowe This is a very good find & very important!

    I didn't want it to get lost in the general chat, so I moved this discussion to the Predators & Loss subcategory under The Back 40.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Thanks, I guess I missed that category when I was looking for a place to post this. That's a better place for it.

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you @MaryRowe.

    We're trying to identify all the creatures and critters that are at our new homestead. This will be very helpful indeed. 😊

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,522 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Most state fish and game and/or natural resources departments have excellent books and/or online information. Here's what I found for South Carolina, and it looks pretty good.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,028 ✭✭✭✭

    Good information. I have to admit a little creepy when I clicked on the link the site knew which state I was in.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,148 ✭✭✭✭✭

    And if you look at what lives in Alaska you will know one of the main reasons I live here. We have one venomous spider and no snakes. LOL

    I don't miss snakes at all.

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    It's good to know this information not just for safety but for empowerment. Lots of people are unnecessarily afraid of snakes, spiders, etc. because they don't know which ones are poisonous. Most aren't. I like to tell people that there are only three poisonous snakes in Pennsylvania, and two are rattlesnakes. The vast majority of snakes they will ever see are not poisonous. And really, accidents happen, but usually if you leave it alone it will leave you alone.

    Of course, that doesn't keep me from being terrified of spiders. But it never was the venom I was worried about- just them and their webs. (shudder) I'll take a heap of snakes any day over spiders, but it's an irrational fear, and I know it. I hate to see people have irrational fears that they think are rational due to ignorance.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @blevinandwomba --good points. I wasn't thinking about that when I posted the site, but you are right, it is a good reminder that the vast majority of snakes and spiders are pretty much harmless to humans and ought to be left alone to do their jobs.

    I just watched a good webinar from the MO Dept. of Conservation on snake identification, and picked up a tip I thought was useful: venomous copperheads and harmless water snakes are both often encountered along creeks and lakes and may look very similar. When frightened, a water snake might flatten its head, so it looks even more like a copperhead. While venomous snakes more often swim with their bodies on top of the water and non-venomous with their bodies below the water line, that is not always a reliable indicator. But the markings give it away. On a copperhead, the dark triangles are usually wider at the belly, narrow at the spine (dark triangle points up). Just the reverse on a water snake--the dark triangles are wider at the spine, narrow at the belly (dark triangle points down).

    The naturalist giving the program also reminded us that to any wild snake, being picked up means it's probably about to be eaten, and of course it will fight back. So it's generally best to just leave them alone.

  • stephanie447
    stephanie447 Posts: 404 ✭✭✭

    Snakes don't scare me so much as long as they aren't too close...but scorpions! They terrify me! The ones that are in Austin, Texas won't kill you but they are creepy as all get out and I didn't grow up with them. So when I lived there I developed a bad phobia. I'm so glad I now live in a scorpion-free area.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe Thanks for this, It is great info to have, especially when traveling/camping in areas not familiar with!

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    @MaryRowe also, here in Pennsylvania, all three venomous snakes have elliptical(slit or cat like) pupils, and the non-venomous have round. This is not the case everywhere- there are very venomous snakes with round pupils- but not in my state. I believe this is intended for kids, but it is pretty interesting.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @blevinandwomba That is a useful pdf, for kids or adults. I didn't know about checking the tails of shed snake skins. I did know about the round vs. narrow pupils.....but I'd rather not get close enough to a copperhead or rattler to see its eyes that clearly!