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Coral Snakes -- Practical Advice?

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  • Coral Snakes -- Practical Advice?

    We have now seen 2 Texas coral snakes (one now dead courtesy of my son, the other thriving), at our farm house in the Texas countryside. Probably related to the extreme drought of last year and their desire to get near cooler, damper places, but a real concern. Where there are 2 snakes, there are probably more. They live under our weekend house and the associated deck.

    First, that is one absolutely gorgeous snake. Everything about it is beautiful.

    Next, I am frigging terrified. No one even keeps antivenom anymore. I understand the risk to humans is very small (since their mouths are small and we don't go barefoot except on the deck), but I am concerned about my dogs. Does anyone have any practical advice on how to get rid of them?

  • #2
    I wouldn't worry about them. My dogs were furiously digging and barking at something in their pen. I wasn't too concerned because they do that all the time. But I was amazed to find the dead body of what they were so interested in -- a coral snake. One of the dogs is a 10 pounds mini dox, another is not much bigger, so I guess it was not too dangerous to them!

    I leave them be when I find them at my farm. Too pretty to kill.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


    • #3
      Personally, I'd be freaking out. That snake is more poisonous and deadly/bite than the timber rattler or diamond back!!!!! But they are beautiful and do resemble a corn snake. I've heard moth balls help keep them away----------throw 30 boxes under the deck if that is where they are. Good luck.


      • #4
        "Red touches yellow, dangerous fellow. Red touches black, friend to Jack"

        We have had them around here but not in the last ten years

        As a note Coralmyn, the antivenom for coral snake bite, has been out of production for long time and the current antivenom stock expired in 2010 (after two consecutive expiration date extensions ).... and no foreign pharmaceutical manufacturers have licensed an antivenom in the United States due to costs.


        • #5
          Thanks Clanter---------I just looked both up.


          • #6
            Are you sure they were corals and not corn snakes?

            But even if they were coral snakes, they are quite shy and it is quite difficult to get bitten by one. Just wear shoes and you should be fine.
            Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


            • #7
              It is pretty darn hard to be bitten by a coral snake -- their mouths are very small and they are very shy. The only bites I have ever known were people who were being absolutely stupid (like playing catch with a snake) and it is very very rare. I would not worry about them at all, they are beautiful snakes, unless you are in the habit of going around jamming your pinkies into the mouths of snakes, all should be well.
              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
              We Are Flying Solo


              • #8

                Sorry, but I would sell the weekend house and move.


                • #9
                  Ditto what Sonesta and Wildlifer said. You basically have to be trying to get bitten to be bitten by a coral snake, like prying the mouth open and clamping it onto your hand practically. I accidentally grabbed one once when I was pulling up weeds out of a garden and he just wanted to get away asap. I found 2 dead in one of my old dogs kennels one year and he was not the brightest dog, so if he managed to kill 2 without being bitten, they have to be pretty docile.
                  Rhode Islands are red;
                  North Hollands are blue.
                  Sorry my thoroughbreds
                  Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :


                  • #10
                    DH has seen two (or the same one twice) around the hay, but we don't really worry about it. Our neighbors keep finding copperheads, which concerns me a lot more. Fortunately, we've not seen any of those on our side of the street. Yet.
                    "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh


                    • #11
                      PM 2Jakes. She is a venom squad expert on snakes.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks for the replies. Definately coral snakes -- plenty of time to check the coloration order. I am not much worried about us -- we don't walk barefoot and we have already decided not to go back under the deck (its over a drop in the ground and is 4 foot+ tall). Let the snakes have it. But I wasn't thrilled with the one in the yard due to my dogs. They are both small aggressive terriers, and would be stupid enough to engage any snake they found and get their noses bit.

                        Since last posting, a skunk has moved under the deck as well. It sprays things in the middle of the night under there (the snakes?), and the lingering odor is around in the morning.

                        Just another weekend in the country!


                        • #13
                          FYI, I used to live in Texas (coral snakes and copperheads, too) and my little terrier (Westie) was bit by a copperhead - late on a Sunday night, of course. She was bit on the inside of her thigh - probably squatted right over it to pee, LOL.
                          I spoke to my vet right away and he told me dogs usually aren't as susceptible to venom as humans are (unless they get bit in the face) and that I should give her 1 benadryl, watch her and bring her in to him in the morning. She did shake a bit and it turned purple where the bite was but she suffered no ill effects other than that. So hopefully your terriers will avoid the snakes but if they do get bit it's not an automatic death sentence.
                          I share that because I think a copperhead bite is much more likely than a coral snake bite. And f course check with your vet right away under any circumstances!
                          It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.


                          • #14
                            FYI, there is coral snake antivenom available in this country. Coralmyn is not the FDA approved version- it is manufactured in Mexico by Bioclon and there is a lot of it in the US, but it is not FDA approved so there are a few hoops to jump through in order to use in on a bite. (How do I know? I am the person who co-ordinates shipping of Bioclon products to zoos and other facilities in the US.)
                            The coral antivenom that expired and then had its date extended was manufactured by Wyeth. I'm pretty sure it has been extended again recently. However, the number of vials hanging around has been dwindling down since Wyeth stopped producing it.

                            All that aside, however-- coral snake bites are survivable without antivenom if the victim can be put on life support in a timely manner. The body will eventually clear the venom out, and since corals are primarily neurotoxic tissue damage is not an issue- but you do have to be kept breathing as respiratory paralysis can occur. I would certainly not suggest this is done unless necessary- but I think it can help to realize that life support can indeed save a coral bite victim if antivenom is not available.

                            What others have said above about coral snake behavior is basically true. They only bite when provoked. I do understand your worry about your dogs-- but really there's not a lot you can do to remove the snakes other than remove where they are living, and I'm not sure that is feasible from what you describe. PLEASE do not try the mothball thing- that only poisons the groundwater and amphibians, and has no affect on snakes. The coral snakes at our facility spend most of their time hiding under the substrate in their cages, though they can be voracious eaters they typically flee when they see something larger than they are.


                            • #15
                              First of all, no one can confuse a coral snake with a corn snake - not even close. I think what y'all are thinking of is a king snake, that looks like a coral snake.

                              Corn snake:

                              Coral snake:

                              King snake:

                              Also, what others have said about corals is true; they're very shy, and not aggressive. You run a much bigger risk from copperheads and cottonmouths than even rattlers, and all of these will bite you before a coral snake will.

                              I'd be grateful that one of these beauties has taken up at your place, and be ready to mourn when the skunk under your house kills and eats it.
                              In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                              A life lived by example, done too soon.


                              • #16
                                Mothballs. Get a collection of em goin and toss em out around the place. They keep all snakes away! Friend who lives in a trailer once opened her sock drawer to find a moccasin in there o_o fffffff. Since then, they have been tossing mothballs under and around the trailer and in random parts of the house. It keeps them far away
                                Clancy 17hh chestnut Dutch WB, '99. Owned and loved since '04 and still goin'!


                                • #17
                                  Mothballs are TOXIC. The gas they produce is TOXIC. It is NOT a good idea to live in close proximity to mothballs.



                                  • #18
                                    I think it would be very hard to find enough boy moths to get enough moth balls to be effective. Moths don't really need to be gelded. So don't use moth balls. It isn't kind to the moth.


                                    • #19