FLOing WILD:  Coral or King Snake     by Marilu Dempsey

Red next to Black - is safe for Jack;
Red next to Yellow - will kill any fellow.

Eastern Coral Snake:  related to Cobras, highly venomous.
- Wide red and black bands with a yellow stripe between them.
- The red bands are usually spotted with black.
- Bands encircle the body, continuing on the belly.
- Bands: Yellow-Red-Yellow-Black-Yellow-Red ...
- The snout is blunt and black.
- The head is black from top of snout to just behind the ears.
- Scales are smooth and shiny.

coral snake
Scarlet King Snake:  non-venomous.
- Wide red bands, separated by wide black bands.
- Every pair of black bands has a narrow yellow stripe between them.
- Bands encircle the body, continuing on the belly.
- Bands: Yellow-Black-Red-Black-Yellow-Black ...
- The snout is red and pointed.
- Scales are smooth.
king snake

Coral Snake Bite

Coral Snake venom is a strong neurotoxin, affecting the nervous and respiratory systems, and a bite can be fatal.  Coral snakes are shy, hiding under logs and fallen leaves.  One usually will not bite unless stepped on, sat on, or grabbed.   Most bites occur when someone, usually a child, attempts to pick one up.

Coral snakes do not strike quickly; they bite, hold on, and 'chew'.   The bite is deceptively mild, leaving only small punctures, and small semi-circular scratch marks.  Symptoms may be delayed up to 12 hours, and then you will see a very rapid progression.
Symptoms include:
   - trouble keeping eyes open,
   - slurred speech,
   - blurred vision,
   - pain at the bite site,
   - seizures.

For all snakebites, seek medical help immediately.   Following is only a basic guideline of first aid for a possible coral snake bite - if it will be over 30 minutes to a hospital:
   - have the victim lie down in a comfortable position,
   - keep the victim still and calm,
   - apply a sterile dressing to the wound,
   - keep the bitten body part still.
   - do not cut or make any incision on or around the site of the bite,
   - do not raise the bitten limb above the level of the heart,
   - do not leave the victim alone,
   - do not give the victim anything to eat or drink, especially alcoholic beverages.

Try to identify the snake, do not cause danger to the victim or yourself, do not take a lot of time.  It is important to seek medical attention fast.  No one has died from a Coral snake bite since an effective antivenom was developed, but it is most effective when given within four hours of a bite.   While it is believed the antivenom is effective up to 24 hours after the bite, delay increases chances of long-term complications.  And there is no guarantee the antivenom can reverse damage already done.