Eastern Coral Snake

See How This Man Effortlessly Catches the ‘World’s Deadliest Snake’ loading...
See How This Man Effortlessly Catches the ‘World’s Deadliest Snake’
The eight-foot-long black mamba was caught after it slid into a home in South Africa.
Watch a Woman Wrangle a Nearly 2-Metre Snake From Her Living Room loading...
Watch a Woman Wrangle a Nearly 2-Metre Snake From Her Living Room
While black snakes can look intimidating, they aren't venomous and help control pests such as insects and rodents.
Snake Regurgitates Another Snake in Startling Video loading...
Snake Regurgitates Another Snake in Startling Video
The eaten snake, which was on the cusp of disappearing into its predator’s mouth, seems to have made it out alive.
Watch Two of World’s Deadliest Snakes Fight on a Golf Course loading...
Watch Two of World’s Deadliest Snakes Fight on a Golf Course
In a rare sighting, two male black mamba snakes entwine in vicious "plaiting combat"—likely battling over a female.
'Extinct' Venomous Snake Rediscovered loading...
'Extinct' Venomous Snake Rediscovered
"We were literally jumping up and down hugging," scientist says of finding the extremely rare Albany adder in South Africa.
Watch a Huge Snake Battle a Mother Leopard and Cub loading...
Watch a Huge Snake Battle a Mother Leopard and Cub
A life-and-death scene played out on a safari in South Africa. See what happens.
Watch a Sea Snake Devour an Eel Its Own Size loading...
Watch a Sea Snake Devour an Eel Its Own Size
When dinnertime involves a meal as big as you are, your venom game better be on point.
About Eastern Coral Snake

A bite from the notoriously venomous eastern coral snake at first seems anticlimactic. There is little or no pain or swelling at the site of the bite, and other symptoms can be delayed for 12 hours. However, if untreated by antivenin, the neurotoxin begins to disrupt the connections between the brain and the muscles, causing slurred speech, double vision, and muscular paralysis, eventually ending in respiratory or cardiac failure.

This iconic snake, with its bulbous head and red, yellow, and black bands, is famous as much for its potent venom as for the many rhymes—"Red and yellow, kill a fellow; red and black, friend of Jack"—penned to distinguish it from similarly patterned, nonvenomous copycats, such as the scarlet king snake.

Fast Facts 

Type: Reptile

Diet: Carnivore

Average life span in captivity: Up to 7 years

Size: 20 to 30 in (51 to 76 cm)

Group name: Bed or knot

Did you know? When threatened, a coral snake will curl the tip of its tail to confuse its attacker as to which end is its head.

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit