Poisonous Snakes in Georgia

 Andrew Lichtenstein / Contributor

Georgia is a beautiful state with lots of parksoutdoor activities and wildlife. Unfortunately, sometimes that means we encounter creepy, crawly creatures like snakes and spiders. Most of these creatures are just living out their lives in their natural habitat and don't have a desire to harm you, so your best course of action is to wear closed toed hiking shoes or sneakers while walking in wooded areas and move around or back away during an encounter. But if a snake feels threatened, it will bite, so so it's important to learn which common Georgia snakes are poisonous and which ones are harmless. Find out in this guide to the snakes of the Peach State. 

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Southern Copperhead

Southern Copperhead
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A copperhead is a well-known type of snake and unfortunately, one you should be concerned about. While their average length is around two feet, though they can be found much longer. Their typical habitat is wooded lowlands, usually within a river bottom, where they can find hiding spots in leaf litter, logs and branches. They have adapted to humans and therefore can sometimes be found in Georgia's wooded suburbs and neighborhoods, even in dense metropolitan areas like Atlanta

How Dangerous are They?

Southern Copperheads have short fangs, and their venom is rarely fatal. They have the lowest venom potency of any pit viper and often administer warning bites in which no venom is released. Bite symptoms include extreme pain, tingling, throbbing, swelling and severe nausea, but are not life threatening. As with any bite, was it with soap and water, remove tight clothing or jewelry to prevent clots from swelling and visit a physical or medical facility for anti-venom treatment, just in case. 

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Kristian Bell / Getty Images

Growing up in Florida, we were always on the look out for the dreaded Cottonmouth, also known as a Water Moccasin, near the water. These snakes call Georgia home, too, and they are poisonous. Like its cousin, the Copperhead, Cottonmouth snakes are pit vipers. They range in size from 20-48 inches and can be found near any wet habitat including streams, springs, rivers, lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, sloughs, reservoirs, retention pools, canals and roadside ditches.

How Dangerous are They?

Cottonmouth bites are fairly dangerous, but lucky can be easily treated with CroFab antiserum. Seek medical attention immediately to get your dose of the antiserum, as these bites can be extremely painful.

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Canebrake Rattlesnake

Timber Rattlesnake on Moss
Mary Ann McDonald / Getty Images

Two kinds of poisonous rattlesnakes can be found in Georgia, the Eastern Diamondback and the Canebrake. The Canebrake, also known as a Timber rattlesnake, is quite large - ranging from 30-60 inches in length. You can identify these snakes by their black rattle and the chevron pattern on their body.

How Dangerous are They?

These rattlesnakes have large fangs and deliver a big shot of venom. These bites can be fatal and you should seek medical attention immediately. The particular type of Canebrake that lives in Georgia has been found to be especially toxic.

Please note that this advice is not supplied by a medical professional and is meant as a general guideline only. If you have been bitten by a snake and are experiencing symptoms, always consult a medical professional. Poison Control in Georgia can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.

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