INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERISTICS OF U.S ELAPIDAE
a. Coral Snakes (Micrurus, 2 Species). This snake is found mainly in the
southern states and northward along the Mississippi Valley to Indiana. It prefers to
remain under loosely packed materials such as bark of decaying logs. It is the most
beautifully colored of the venomous snakes with the bands of black, yellow, and red
encircling its body (yellow rings are located on either side of the black). It is a small
snake, 1 1/2 to 3 feet long when grown, is shy and docile, and has almost round pupils.
It does not have the facial pits of other venomous snakes of the U.S.
b. Coral Snake (Micruroides, 2 Species). The coral snake is located in
Arizona and the southwest top of New Mexico, living in the rocky areas, the plains to the
lower mountain slopes, and the rocky upland desert especially in arroyos and river
bottoms. It grows to become 1 to 2 feet when it is mature. Its body is encircled by
bands of black, cream and red (cream rings are located on either side of the black).
One method to identify the U.S. coral snake from harmless snakes is to remember this:
"Red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black, venom lack." Its poison is the most toxic of
any of the poisonous snakes in the U.S. It has several pairs of short, rigid grooved
fangs at the end of the upper. For this reason, the coral snake uses a chewing motion
to inject its poison. This snake usually bites the victim on a hand, foot, or finger since it
has a small mouth, teeth, and limited jaw expansion. The poison injected is neurotoxic
and affects the victim's cranial nerves (paralysis of respiratory movements, eyelids and
INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERISTICS OF U.S. HELODERMATIDAE
a. Gila Monster and Mexican Beaded Lizard (Heloderma). These lizards can
be found in areas from southern Arizona to the southwestern part of New Mexico and in
Northern Mexico where they live in the rocky areas, desert arroyos, and river bottoms.
They are the only venomous lizards and grow to a length of 1 to 2 feet. They have
black and orange or yellow rough beadlike skin with a large stout body and fat tail which
of necessity makes moving relatively slow and mostly in the night. Their eyes are
beadlike and small and their mouths are large and muscular.
b. Heloderma Venom Signs and Symptoms. The lizard's bite is a simple
puncture wound leaving from 1 to 8 teeth marks. It causes severe, excruciating pain
and slow progressive swelling. The person suffers weakness and vertigo, cyanosis and
local tenderness about the wound, nausea, and vomiting. The bite can cause
tachycardia, hypotension, and respiratory distress.