How to Tell if a Snake is Poisonous (By Color and More)

Whether you’re walking on a park trail or hiking in the woods, it’s exciting to see a snake in the wild. It could be a small one slithering through a pile of leaves on its way back to its hole.

What is the Color of the Snake?

Colors can be useful in identifying a venomous snake. Many poisonous snakes are brightly colored. This is one of those facts that’s true for many types of animals including frogs and insects. Brightly colored scales are a warning to predators that a reptile is poisonous.

What is the Shape of the Snake’s Head?

A triangular head is a sign a snake is venomous. Compare the size of its head with its neck and you’ll see a notable difference in width. The copperhead is a great example of one with a triangular head.

What Kind of Eyes Does the Snake Have?

Looking at a snake’s eyes in its triangular head can help in the identification process. A snake with slit-like, vertical pupils is likely to be venomous. Pit vipers are venomous and have eyes with vertical pupils.


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