Poisonous Snakes

This passage is about different types of poisonous snakes.

Lexile Level: 950L

Categories: Animals & Nature


Two groups of poisonous snakes inhabit the United States. Most poisonous snakes are in the family "Crotalidae," otherwise known as pit vipers. These snakes have a small pit between the eye and nostril, which they use to detect heat. This allows them to sense prey in the dark. Pit vipers inject their poison through two, long fangs. Some pit vipers, like the Mojave and canebrake rattlesnakes, deliver neurotoxic venom. This type of venom affects the brain and spinal cord. The second group of poisonous snakes in America is the family "Elapidae." These are coral snakes, which are found mostly in the southern states. These little snakes with small teeth can really pack a punch of venom when they bite. Several victims of coral snake bites experienced respiratory paralysis from the neurotoxic venom. Approximately 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes each year in the United States, and about five of them die. Doctors treat snakebite victims with antivenin.


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