There are actually a number of venomous snakes in the United States, although the actual number of
fatalities that occur is generally around a dozen or less each year. That is because most humans do not
put themselves in a position to get bit by snakes.
What follows are generally considered the three deadliest snakes in the US based on their venom and
capability of biting humans. These are the snakes to really watch out for when you are in the woods.
Eastern Coral Snake
This is the most deadly snake in the US. The venom of an eastern coral snake will kill a human if not
treated very quickly. This is because the venom is a neurotoxin that is designed to shut down the nervous
system and cause your heart to stop beating. Surviving a coral snake attack, especially in rural areas well
away from treatment, is very difficult at best.
However, the eastern coral snake rarely bites humans and is only responsible for a very small number
of deaths each year. This is because the eastern coral snake is very shy and they avoid humans, which
means that the majority of the bites occur when the snake is provoked or teased. The eastern coral snake
has red, black and yellow bands wrap around the body.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Almost as deadly as the eastern coral snake when it comes to the potency of its venom, the eastern
diamondback rattler may arguably be even more deadly because it is more willing to bite humans than
the coral snake. Eastern rattlers can deliver a large amount of venom and will stand their ground when
Eastern rattlers are found in a large area from North Carolina to Florida and west to Louisiana. Its cousin,
the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is arguably more famous thanks to its depiction in popular
Western movies. However, the venom of the western rattler is not quite as potent. The eastern rattler is a
rather shy snake and generally will not bite if you heed the warning of its rattle, which is uses when it feels
threatened. Thus, very few people are injured or die from the bite of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake
simply because most people heed the warning. The eastern rattler is most noted for the distinctive rattle
at the end of its tail.
Also called the water moccasin, the cottonmouth is similar in some respects to the copperhead, but is
a much more aggressive snake which is why it is so dangerous. While not quite packing the venom of
a coral snake or the eastern diamondback rattler, the cottonmouth is much more likely to bite humans
thanks to its rather grumpy disposition and territorial instincts.
The cottonmouth is also fairly quick and will strike without warning. Add to that the fact that cottonmouths
are just as comfortable in the water as they are on land and this is one dangerous snake. However,
despite cottonmouths being rather prevalent in the southern states, from Florida to Oklahoma and Texas,
they cause very few deaths in large part because their venom is not quite as potent. The cottonmouth
is dark in color, ranging from brown to olive to graying/black and features a flat top head and distinctive
“white” mouth when open.