Coral Snake vs King Snake: What’s the Difference?

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Coral snakes and king snakes both make popular pets because of their calm, non-aggressive nature. If you have one of these reptiles at home, it’s easy to assume they are the same animal, but there are actually several differences between them that you should know about before keeping either species as a pet.

In this article, we will compare coral snake vs king snake to determine which type of snake you should choose as your next pet. Learn more here!

If you’re familiar with venomous snakes, then you’ve probably heard of coral snakes. With their bright reds, greens, and yellows and their wide variety of patterns, they are among the most vibrant and beautiful of all the snakes in North America.

But that’s not what makes them notorious: it’s their powerful venom that can cause extreme pain to anyone who is unlucky enough to get bitten by one. So let’s talk about the differences between coral snakes and king snakes, as well as how you can tell them apart so you don’t end up getting bitten!

Though coral snakes and king snakes share the same habitat, coral snakes are actually more closely related to rattlesnakes than king snakes are. It’s important to know the differences between these two similar-looking snakes so you can protect yourself and your family from both of them! Read on to learn more about coral snake vs king snake!

Both Snakes Have Similar Characteristics

Both of these snakes are venomous, which means they can inject a toxin through their bite. Coral snakes get their name from their slender red, yellow and black bands; some have reddish-orange stripes in addition to black.

The patterns on king snakes vary widely among individuals, but they always have brown, tan, or gray blotches running down their backs. If you ever come across one of these creatures in your backyard, look at its belly color—if it’s bright yellow or white with black- or red-colored spots on it, chances are good that you’re looking at a king snake. If it’s any other combination of colors—or if it has no belly markings at all—you may have found yourself a coral snake.

coral snake vs king snake differences


Physical Differences

Coral snakes and king snakes may look very similar in appearance, but there are a few key differences. Coral snakes are generally more brightly colored and patterned than king snakes. The red, yellow, and black bands of a coral snake, for example, tend to be much wider than those of a king snake.

Meanwhile, corals’ reds tend to be more orange or pinkish than red-orange like many kings’ colors. Another difference between corals and kings is size—coral snakes are longer (typically over 2 feet) while most average king snakes max out at just under 3 feet long.

Venom and Bite Stats

Coral snakes and king snakes are both found in Florida, but coral snakes are more common. Both are non-venomous, so they can’t bite or hurt you with their teeth. The two types of snakes look similar—they have red, yellow, and black bands that ring their bodies—but there are slight differences between them.

First off, coral snakes have red bands next to yellow ones; king snakes have red bands next to black ones. Even if you see a snake that doesn’t have exactly these color combinations, look at its head shape and eyes to tell if it’s a venomous coral snake or a non-venomous king snake.

Habitat Ranges

The coral snake lives in Florida, parts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia; it also lives in much of Central America. The kingsnake is found in all US states east of Colorado. While both types of snakes are able to adapt to a variety of climates, they prefer warm climates with plenty of suns.

Their habitat ranges across grasslands, forests and deserts; however, their home range must have an abundance of available prey as well as nearby water sources for drinking purposes.

Which One is More Dangerous?

While a coral snake bite could be deadly, according to Florida wildlife officials, a king snake’s bite is unlikely to result in serious health problems. Both types of snakes inject venom when they bite and can cause tissue damage and bleeding, but a king snake’s venom has smaller molecules that are less likely to attack red blood cells and cause heart failure.

Coral snakes also contain neurotoxins that could lead to breathing difficulty or muscle paralysis—and even death—while those same effects from a king snake bite are rare. To prevent bites from either type of snake, stay away from debris piles where snakes like to hide during hot weather and wear sturdy shoes so you don’t accidentally step on one while hiking or jogging.

Visual Identification Guide

Both coral snakes and king snakes are found in North America, but what does a coral snake look like compared to a king snake? If you’re not sure about their differences, read on for a side-by-side comparison of visual identification.

While there are many visual similarities between these two types of snakes, they can be easily differentiated by several key characteristics. Read below to learn more about how they differ.

How to Avoid Contact

Because coral snakes are smaller than king snakes, you might be tempted to handle one with less caution. But it’s still important to avoid contact with both species. If you’re ever bitten by a snake—even if you think it’s a non-venomous garter snake—seek immediate medical attention.

However, if you suspect that you have been bitten by a coral snake, do not attempt to capture or kill it for identification. The first 24 hours are crucial in determining whether or not treatment is necessary, so experts advise against grabbing, attacking, or killing a suspected venomous snake and suggest calling animal control immediately instead. Their professional advice will help you decide if antivenin treatment is necessary and could save your life in such an extreme situation!

Are Both Snakes Vicious?

While coral snakes and king snakes are both poisonous, they can be distinguished by their colors. A coral snake is red, black, and yellow, with a white ring around its neck.

The king snake is gray, brown, or black with lighter bands. The only other North American snake that closely resembles a coral snake is a scarlet kingsnake, which has similar coloring but usually has some stripes on its body and belly.

Staying Safe in Your Home

When you live in a place like Florida, it’s impossible to ignore that there are a lot of dangerous reptiles around. You have your standard snakes, such as rattlesnakes and copperheads, but then you also have other creatures like alligators and crocodiles lurking nearby.

And if you happen to be scared of reptiles or live in fear of snakes, it can be especially worrisome living somewhere with so many around. But there is good news — these dangerous animals rarely actually harm people on purpose.

In fact, more people die from being crushed by furniture than they do from snake bites each year! Learn how to keep yourself safe at home no matter what kind of reptile is lurking nearby.

Which One Do You Have?

Although coral snakes and king snakes are both nonvenomous, there are many differences between them. If you have any questions about which kind of snake you’re dealing with, it’s best to play it safe and leave these dangerous creatures alone.

It can be easy to confuse a coral snake for a king snake or vice versa since they look very similar, but there are some distinct differences between these two types of snakes that should give you an idea of which type you might be looking at.

You may want to pay close attention when hiking or playing in natural areas where snakes often lurk; it could save your life!

Where Do They Live In The US?

While coral snakes can be found in many different states and areas of North America, they are primarily located in South America. They range from Mexico to Brazil and Venezuela. The kingsnake, on the other hand, is most often found in warmer climates.

While they don’t get quite as hot as coral snakes’ usual environment, they do live in more southern locales like Virginia, Louisiana, and Texas—states that border Mexico. Of course, there are a few exceptions to both patterns; some kingsnakes can be found well into Canada while some coral snakes reside near New York City!

The moral of the story here is that while these snakes may be similar to one another based on their appearance and name similarities, you should never let your guard down when dealing with either type of snake!

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