“Red to black venom lack, red to yellow kill a fellow”

Another species I have been very excited to find is the variable coral snake (Micrurus diastema). As its common name suggests its colouration and pattern are highly variable. Due to this fact, I treat any snake with any hint of bands of red / orange, yellow / white, and black as a coral snake until I am sure what it is.

The diagnostic rhyme “red to black venom lack, red to yellow kill a fellow” is not enough for me to be certain that what I am looking at is safe to handle freely. Because of this, there have been several times where I almost convinced myself that what I was looking at was a coral buy generic levaquin snake, when in fact it was a harmless look-a-like!

Finally, after many false starts, I caught the first coral snake here at Las Guacamayas last week. Its colouration was almost identical in shade and pattern as the milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) I had caught the week earlier. The only real difference between them is the order of the bands, the size of the eyes and the scalation (e.g. coral snakes have far fewer rows of dorsal scales than milk snakes).

I will still remain cautious side when I see a red/black/yellow snake, even if it is not obviously a coral snake!

Rowland Griffin – Director of Research


Lampropeltis triangulum - milk snake

Lampropeltis triangulum – milk snake

Published : 1st December 2013

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