Florida vs. Arizona: Which State Has More Venomous Snakes?

Written by Lev Baker
Published: April 13, 2023
© Suzanna Ruby/Shutterstock.com
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Florida and Arizona are both home to a number of dangerous animals, including venomous snakes. Both of these states have many snakes slithering around the environment that you should know how to identify and stay clear of. 

Humans have feared and revered snakes throughout history, and for a good reason! While many species of snakes are harmless to humans, there are some species that can cause serious harm or even death. Two states in the United States that are home to a large number of venomous snakes are Arizona and Florida. While Arizona only houses coral snakes and several species of rattlesnakes, Florida is home to all 4 different types of venomous snakes. Let’s take a look at the snakes in each of these states. We will also cover what to do if you are bitten by a venomous snake and some ways to identify threatening snakes from non-threatening ones. Let’s dive in!

Which State Has More Venomous Snakes?

When it comes down to the species of venomous snakes, Arizona has the most venomous snake species in the USA as well as the most deaths per capita from venomous snake bites. Florida on the other hand, has fewer species of snakes and bites, but the state is still home to some dangerous snakes.

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Arizona Coral SnakeEastern Coral Snake
Western DiamondbackCopperhead
Rock RattlesnakeCottonmouth
Black-tailed RattlesnakePygmy Rattlesnake
Mojave RattlesnakeEastern Diamondback
Hopi RattlesnakeTimber Rattlesnake
Western Massasauga
Western Rattlesnake
Arizona Black Rattlesnake
Speckled Rattlesnake
Tiger Rattlesnake
Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake
Twin-spotted Rattlesnake

Eastern Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius tener)

An Eastern Coral Snake slithers through the grass
The neurotoxic venom of eastern coral snakes can be deadly if not promptly treated.


The eastern coral snake is a highly venomous snake species found in the southeastern United States, ranging from North Carolina to Louisiana. It is a relatively small snake, typically only growing up to 2-3 feet in length. Its coloration is distinctive and consists of a series of narrow red, yellow, and black bands (or stripes) that run down its body. The red stripes are always bordered by yellow ones, while the black bands separate the red and yellow bands. 

This coloration is a warning sign to potential predators, as the eastern coral snake has a powerful neurotoxic venom that can be deadly if not treated promptly. The head of the Eastern Coral Snake is small and indistinct from its body, and it has a black snout with a blunt tip. Despite its venomous bite, this species is generally non-aggressive and will only bite if provoked or threatened.

Arizona Coral Snake (Micruroides euryxanthus)

Arizona coral snake on rocky soil
The coloration of Arizona coral snakes is similar to eastern coral snakes’, the most noteworthy difference being the addition of white and the lack of yellow.

©CC BY-SA 2.0

Adult Arizona coral snakes average at about 1.5 feet in length. They are divided by light yellow/white, red, and black stripes. They have black heads, and the red bands are usually absent on their tails. This species inhabits desert shrublands and arid regions in southeastern Arizona and the southwest corner of New Mexico. These snakes are highly venomous but are considered non-aggressive and rarely bite people. That said if you are bit by a coral snake you should seek medical attention immediately.

Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)

Northern Copperhead (agkistrodon contortrix mokasen) on leaf litter - taken in New Jersey. Its ground color is pale brown to pinkish-brown, and it has darker, hour-glass shaped bands down its body.
Be careful exploring the Florida Panhandle; you may spot a copperhead snake.

©iStock.com/David Kenny

The copperhead snake is found in the Panhandle of Florida. The copperhead is a venomous snake species that inhabits the eastern and central regions of the United States. It has a distinctive coloration, which consists of a reddish-brown to a golden-tan background with hourglass-shaped crossbands of copper-colored scales that run down its body. These bands are wider at the sides and narrower in the middle, giving the snake a unique appearance. 

The copperhead has a relatively thick body and can grow up to 3 or 4 feet in length. The venom of the copperhead is cytotoxic, meaning it causes tissue damage and can lead to pain, swelling, and discoloration around the bite area. Despite its venomous bite, this species is generally shy and will avoid confrontation if possible, but it will strike if threatened.

Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorous)

The cottonmouth is in the subfamily Crotalinae, another name for which is pit vipers.

©iStock.com/Gerald DeBoer

The cottonmouth, or water moccasin, is a venomous snake species that lives in the southeastern United States, particularly in and around bodies of water such as swamps, marshes, and streams. It is a large and stout snake that can grow up to 4 or 5 feet in length. Its coloration varies from dark brown to black, with a distinctive whitish or yellowish underside that is often visible when the snake opens its mouth in a threat display. A cottonmouth’s head is large and blocky, with a wide mouth and pits located between the nostrils and eyes that allow it to detect prey through heat-sensing. 

The venom of the cottonmouth is hemotoxic, meaning it affects the blood vessels and tissues of its prey. This species can be aggressive when threatened and has a reputation for being one of the more dangerous and confrontational venomous snakes in North America.


There are two separate rattlesnake genera: Sistrurus and Crotalus. The Sistrurus genus is the more primitive of the two. These snakes can be quite aggressive and account for the most venomous snake bites in the USA. More than 70% of the fatal snake bites in the USA since 2010 have been rattlesnake bites!

Sistrurus Genus

Western Massasauga (Sistrurus tergeminus)
Adult Western Massasauga (Sistrurus tergeminus)
The western massasauga inhabits areas in Arizona, but also central Oklahoma, Texas, southeast Colorado, and eastern Kansas.

©Nick Kanakis/Shutterstock.com

Often referred to as the desert massasauga. This species is relatively small, ranging from 1 to 3 feet in length, making the western massasaugua one of the smallest venomous snakes in the United States. Their coloration is gray or light brown with dark spots along their back. This rattlesnake subspecies inhabit grasslands, wetlands, and rocky hillsides. They can be found in the southeastern corner of Arizona, but they are secretive and not often seen.

Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius)
Curled up pygmy rattlesnake
Only reaching between 1 and 2 feet, pygmy rattlesnakes aren’t particularly large.

©Gerald A. DeBoer/Shutterstock.com

The pygmy rattlesnake is another very small venomous snake species found in the southeastern United States. It typically grows to a length of around 1 to 2 feet and is known for its distinctive coloration, which consists of a gray or tan background with a series of dark, circular blotches along its back. These blotches often have a reddish or brownish tint and can be connected by smaller spots. The scales of the Pygmy Rattlesnake are keeled, giving it a rough texture. 

Crotalus Genus

Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Rattlesnakes While HIking - Timber Rattlesnake
The scales on a timber rattlesnake’s back are rough to the touch.

©Joe McDonald/Shutterstock.com

The timber rattlesnake is a venomous pit viper species found in the eastern United States, ranging from Minnesota to Texas and eastward to the Atlantic coast. This snake has a distinctive brownish-gray coloration with dark, wide crossbands that give it a rough and rugged appearance. The scales on its back are keeled and rough to the touch, while its belly is typically lighter in color. 

Western Diamondback (Crotalus atrox)
Snake, Fang, Rattlesnake, Poisonous, Aggression Snake, Fang, Rattlesnake, Poisonous, Aggression
Inhabiting the western United States, western diamondbacks call Arizona home.


Found in western states in the US, including Arizona.  This species of rattlesnake is the most common and widespread. Both the western and eastern diamondback is considered to be the most venomous rattlesnake species in the world. They average from 3.5 to 4.5 feet long but have been recorded to be up to 8 ft long. These snakes are brown with diamond-shaped markings along their back. They also have white rings around their tail.

Eastern Diamondback (Crotalus adamanteus)
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Close Up
While they average 3 to 6 feet long, eastern diamondbacks can reach up to 8 feet.


The eastern diamondback is the largest species of rattlesnake. In fact, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake is one of the largest venomous snakes found in North America, averaging from 3 to 6 feet in length. Recognized for its iconic diamond-shaped patterns on its back. This species has a thick, muscular body that can grow up to 8 feet in length and weigh over 20 pounds. Its scales are rough and keeled, giving the snake a rugged appearance. The head of the Eastern Diamondback is broad and triangular in shape, with a distinctive ridge over its eyes. 

Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus)
rock rattlesnake
The gray coloration with dark banding distinguishes rock rattlesnakes from other species.

©Kevin Wells Photography/Shutterstock.com

The rock rattlesnake is a relatively small species in the Crotalus genus, averaging at about 2.5 feet in length. Their coloration is their most identifying feature. They are gray with dark black or brown banding throughout their bodies. They can be found in the southeastern portion of Arizona in grassland and mountain habitats.

Black-Tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)
A Black-tailed Rattlesnake, Crotalus molossus, striking at a prey or a threat
Living throughout much of Arizona are black-tailed rattlesnakes.

©Joe McDonald/Shutterstock.com

The black-tailed rattlesnake range takes up most of Arizona, spreading from the southeast toward the northwest corner of the state. This snake is dark grey or even green in color and has darker blotchy spots along its back. The average adult is about 3.5 ft in length. 

Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)
closeup of mojave rattlesnake with shaking rattle
These rattlesnakes get their name from the Mojave Desert, a place they have fully inhabited.

©Ryan M. Bolton/Shutterstock.com

The Mojave rattlesnake is a  common venomous pit viper species that lives primarily in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is named after the Mojave Desert, where it is commonly found. This snake is characterized by its light green coloration, which helps it blend in with the desert environment. It has distinct diamond-shaped patterns on its back and a black tail with a rattle at the end. 

The Mojave rattlesnake can be very aggressive and defensive and will commonly bite humans  if it feels threatened.

Hopi Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis nuntius)
A Hopi Rattlesnake
While Hopi rattlesnakes are native to Arizona, they also range into New Mexico.

©K Hanley CHDPhoto/Shutterstock.com

The Hopi rattlesnake is a subspecies of the prairie rattlesnake. This species has an average length of about 4 feet. They have a reddish-brown color with darker splotches of red along the back and sides of its body. Their coloration helps them blend into their desert habitat.  It inhabits desert regions and plateaus of eastern Arizona.

Western Rattlesnake (Crotals oreganus)
A rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) ready to bite / attack, showing his snake's fangs
The largest western rattlesnakes reach about 6 feet.

©Clement Horvath/Shutterstock.com

The size of an adult western rattlesnake varies over their range, but the largest is reported to be 6 feet in length. There are two subspecies of western rattlesnakes that inhabit Arizona. The great basin variety is yellow in color, while the grand canyon variety’s coloration is reddish. They can be found throughout the central and northern portions of Arizona.

Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus)
crotalus cerberus in den
Arizona black rattlesnakes share communal dens and females may share parenting duties.

©Dario Sabljak/Shutterstock.com

The average adult Arizona black rattlesnake is 3 ft in length. There is some variation in their coloration; they are typically either dark brown, gray, olive green, or reddish-brown. This species is endemic, and only found in Arizona. The Arizona Black Rattlesnake’s venom is more than twice as toxic as the western diamondback rattlesnakes venom!

Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii)
If you see a tan-colored rattlesnake with black rings on its tail, it’s likely a speckled rattlesnake.

©Creeping Things/Shutterstock.com

The speckled rattlesnake is tan in color with black rings on its tail and rattle. Like most other species, they have a large triangular head and heat-sensing pits under their eyes. This species lives in rocky, arid regions of western Arizona, southern California, and southern Nevada.

Tiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris)
Crotalus tigris coiled with rattle showing
The crossbands on the tiger rattlesnake resemble the pattern of a tiger.

©Alexander Wong/Shutterstock.com

This species has dark crossbands across its back and head that resemble a tiger’s pattern. Adults range from 1.5 to 3 feet in length. They have small triangular-shaped heads and a large rattle on the ends of their tails. The tiger rattlesnake can be found in southern Arizona, inhabiting hot climates. This species has the most toxic venom of any rattlesnake.

Ridge-Nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)
Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake, Crotalus willardi
At only 1 to 2 feet long, ridge-nosed rattlesnakes are on the smaller side.

©Matt Jeppson/Shutterstock.com

The ridge-nosed rattlesnake is relatively small, averaging between 1 and 2 feet long. They have a yellowish-brown coloration with white horizontal striping that helps them blend into their environment. They are found in a small region of the southernmost part of Arizona. Ridge-nosed rattlesnakes are only found in mountainous woodland habitats. This species is threatened across its range, so sightings are very rare.

Twin-Spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei)
Twin spotted rattlesnake
Like the ridge-nosed rattlesnake, twin-spotted rattlesnakes are also particularly small, at only 1.5 feet long on average.


The average length of a twin-spotted rattlesnake is 1.5 feet. They typically have a brown or gray coloration with rows of dark spots running down their back. Also, they have a dark strip that runs from the corner of their eyes to their mouth. They are found in areas of high elevation in Arizona in a similar habitat to that of the ridge-nosed rattlesnake.

Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes)
Amazing Desert Animals: Sidewinder
The scales above sidewinders’ eyes provide the appearance of horns about their heads.

©Roger de Montfort/Shutterstock.com

This species is relatively small. Adults range from 1.5 to 2.5 feet in length with a light brown coloration with dark spots extending down the center of their back. Their most distinguishing feature is supraocular scales which give a horn-like appearance on their head. Because of this feature, they are sometimes referred to as the “horned rattlesnake”. They can be found in the southwestern portion of Arizona.

When Are Snakes Most Active?

Snakes, like other reptiles, are ectothermic, which means that they rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. Instead of generating their own body heat, they absorb heat from their surroundings, such as rocks, soil, or the sun, to warm up their bodies. The activity level of snakes can vary depending on the species and environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. In general, snakes are most active during the warmer months of the year, typically from spring through fall. During this time, snakes are more likely to be out and about, foraging for food, seeking mates, and basking in the sun to regulate their body temperature. 

When Are Snakes Most Active in Flordia?

Flordia has relatively warm weather all year. Because of this, snakes are active throughout the year.  They are the most active from April through October. These are the warmer months of the year in which you are more likely to spot snakes. 

When Are Snakes Most Active in Arizona?

Snakes in Arizona are most active during the day during the spring and fall. Their activity is restricted to night during the extremely hot summer months to conserve their energy. During the winter, snakes in Arizona brumate, and sleep underground, to avoid the cold weather and save their heat.

How Common Are Snakebites in Flordia?

300 venomous snake bites occur annually in Flordia. However, fatalities are rare, according to reports. In addition, around half of venomous snake bites are categorized as “dry” which means that the snake bites but does not inject the victim with venom. 

How Common Are Snakebites in Arizona?

Arizona is the state in the U.S. with the highest per capita death rate from snake bites. The average number of venomous snake bites in Arizona is about 300 per year. About 6 people die per year from venomous snake bites in Arizona

What to Do if a Snake Bites You

Symptoms of a venomous snake bite:

  • Bloody wound
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Swelling 
  • Severe pain
  • Discoloration (redness or bruising)
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Diarrhea
  • Burning sensation
  • Convulsions
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse
  • Paralysis
  • Numbness

If a snake bites you, it is important to take the following steps:

  1. Stay calm and try to identify the snake. If possible, take a photo of the snake or remember its appearance. This can help medical professionals determine the type of snake and the appropriate treatment.
  2. Seek medical attention immediately. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Time is of the essence, and the sooner you receive medical treatment, the better your chances of recovery.
  3. Keep the affected limb immobilized and lower than the heart. This can help slow the spread of venom through the bloodstream.
  4. Remove any tight clothing or jewelry near the bite site. Swelling is common after a snake bite, and removing constricting items can help reduce the risk of further damage.
  5. Do not apply ice or a tourniquet to the bite site. These measures can actually worsen the effects of venom. As such, avoid them.
  6. Do not attempt to suck out the venom or cut the bite site. These are old and dangerous remedies that do not work and can cause more harm.

From a medical professional, you may receive:

  • Antibiotics to prevent or treat a developing infection. 
  • Pain medicine
  • Antivenom, depending on the type of snake 

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dusky rattlesnake closeup
Dusky pygmy rattlesnakes inhabit areas from Alabama to Florida, north to North Carolina.
© Suzanna Ruby/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I have been a freelance writer for the past 2 years. My two biggest loves in the world are music and animals. I have even gone on to start my own personal blog called Frontman Philosophy. I have a huge love of animals and I love building my knowledge of animals through research. I love sea creatures in particular, my favorite being the octopus because of their intelligence, and I mean, come on, what's not to love! I have a rescue boxer named Dante who is the friendliest pup a man could ask for.

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