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Poisonous animals
Cnidarians (Jellyfish, Corals and Anemones)
Venomous fish
Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Ants)
Sea snakes
Terrestrial snakes
Miscellaneous animals
North America
Mexico and Central America
South America and the West Indies
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? 

Harmless snakes

(local symptoms may occur)

  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

  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


» proceed to regional identification
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?


» proceed to regional identification

» proceed to regional identification