Coral snakes are found in tropical regions of North America and are often confused with non-poisonous (non-venomous) milk snakes because they look similar.
A coral snake can be up to 1 m (3 ft) long and has:
- Red, yellow, and black bands along the length of the body.
- Round pupils and a black nose.
- Fangs. Coral snakes tend to chew on their victims for a few seconds and may leave tooth marks with or without fang marks.
At first, mild pain may be the only symptom of a coral snake bite. Within 90 minutes, a feeling of weakness or numbness may occur in the bitten extremity.
Other symptoms may appear up to 12 to 24 hours after a bite. Symptoms may include:
- Increased salivation and drooling.
- Drowsiness or euphoria.
- Slurred speech.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Numbness and tingling (paresthesia).
Symptoms that occur less often include double vision, trouble breathing, sweating, muscle aches, and confusion. In rare cases, a person may die from a coral snake bite.
If you think you have been bitten by a coral snake, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.
Current as of: February 26, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine