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Poisonous animals
 
Cnidarians (Jellyfish, Corals and Anemones)
 
Venomous fish
 
Scorpions
 
Spiders
 
Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Ants)
 
Sea snakes
 
Terrestrial snakes
 
Miscellaneous animals
 
North America
 
Mexico and Central America
 
South America and the West Indies
 
Europe
 
North Africa, Near and Middle East
 
Central and Southern Africa
 
The Far East
 
Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
 
Australia and the Pacific Islands
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Morphological identification of terrestrial snakes

Morphological key to the terrestrial venomous snakes

(excluding sea snakes)

 

 

 

 

 

Only ever pick up dead snakes! Caution - reflex bites are possible in snakes that have only just been killed. Hold the snake with one hand behind the head, and with the other hand open the mouth using tweezers and observe the dentition (also look for teeth that may be hidden in mucosal folds). 
 
  Are all the teeth +/- of the same size? 
yes  

Harmless snakes

(local symptoms may occur)

  no 
     
       
  Enlarged teeth (venom fangs, generally grooved at the front or with a venom duct orifice near the tip) are +/- at the back; there are always normal teeth in front of these venom fangs! yes  

some species ofColubridae

 
   no 
     
       
  Venom fangs are at the very front of the row of teeth and are +/- fixed (not moveable) in the upper jaw. May be so small as to be barely visible! yes
   

Elapidae

» proceed to regional identification
   no 
     
     
 
 
Exceedingly long venom fangs at the very front of the upper jaw that can be erected forwards, in rare cases laterally. Normally they are folded back and covered by mucosal sheaths!

   
           
     
  Is there a pit between the nostril and the eye?
yes
   

Crotalinae

» proceed to regional identification
    no      
       
  Viperinae

» proceed to regional identification