Discover the Deadliest Snake Slithering Around the United States

Large eastern diamondback rattlesnake
© Chase D'animulls/Shutterstock.com

Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: September 1, 2023

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There are more non-venomous snakes in the United States than there are venomous snakes but unfortunately, many non-venomous snake species are mistaken for the venomous variety and killed. Venomous snakes serve their own purpose in our ecosystem, and they’re best admired from a safe distance because their venom is powerful and potentially deadly. Discover the deadliest snake in the United States!

The Deadliest Snake in the United States

There are several different types of venomous snakes found in the United States, each of which can bite and cause you to present severe symptoms. They may even be fatal. However, the deadliest snake in the United States is the rattlesnake. There have been more fatal bites by rattlesnakes than by other snakes. The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest rattlesnake.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Close Up

Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes are the largest, most venomous rattlesnakes in the U.S.

©iStock.com/Wide-River-Rick

When this snake bites, it has the power to unleash copious amounts of venom, which can quickly lead to death if anti-venom isn’t immediately available. These snakes are distinguished by the diamond markings on their backs, each with a yellowish scaly border. This snake lives in the southern portion of North Carolina down to the Florida Keys and west through Louisiana.

While the eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the biggest of all rattlesnakes, it may have less toxic venom than the Mojave green rattlesnake. In some populations, this snake’s venom contains highly potent neurotoxins that put the eastern diamondback venom to shame.

Types of Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes refer to snakes that have a rattle at the tips of their tails. When they vibrate it quickly, it makes a rattling sound. This sound is a warning for anyone who has ventured too close. The snake is aware of your presence, and it needs space to feel safe. Although they can kill humans, they view them as predators and if forced to, they defend themselves by biting. Their rattles aren’t just for scaring off predators, however. They may also rattle their tails to distract prey before they strike.

In the United States, there are a total of 32 rattlesnake species. Some rattlers in the list include:

Other Types of Venomous Snakes in the United States

Venomous Copperhead Snake with Forked Tongue

Copperheads and cottonmouths make up part of the pit viper family the same as rattlesnakes.

©Mark_Kostich/Shutterstock.com

Rattlesnakes aren’t the only type of venomous snake in the U.S. There are also copperheads, cottonmouths, and coral snakes. Copperheads and cottonmouths make up part of the pit viper family the same as rattlesnakes. Coral snakes are different, however, and stand alone in their own category. These are much less prevalent than other venomous snakes in the country and if you spot one, relish the moment but keep your distance — they’re a rare find!

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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