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Poisonous & Non-Poisonous Snakes


Differences Between Poisonous & Non-Poisonous Snakes

Classification of the snakes are based on the scales present on the body and head of the snakes. These scales have been modified into special characteristic forms which for identification purposes are called as shields which are most prominent on the head and the dorsal and ventral sides of the snakes’ body. Thus, the arrangement of the scales provides basis for identification. There is a pair of poison gland with its perfernalia in the head region and one or two pairs or large canaliculized teeth known as fangs. In non-poisonous snakes the fangs are absent and a row of teeth are present on the border of the upper jaw.

To find out whether a person has been bitten by a poisonous snake or not, the bitten part should be carefully observed. In case of poisonous snakes there would be:

  1. Only one or two pairs of puncture marks on the bitten part.
  2. Continuous oozing of serious and reddish discharge.
  3. Discoloration of the part near the bite and
  4. Swelling of the area. If a non-poisonous snake has bitten there will be only small row of pricks.

Some Venomous Snakes


The Cobras are well known and are common all over India. It can raise its head and expand the skin of neck region in the form of a characteristic hood. Only two species are found in India, one Naja naja or Naja tripudians and the other Naja bungarus (King Cobra). The characters of poisonous are

  1. Head small and indistinct from the neck.
  2. Tail cylindrical and belly scales arranged in two rows.
  3. Large scales on the head.
  4. Third supra-labial scale touches the eye and nasal scale.
  5. The ribs of the neck expand to form the hood on which are characteristic spectacle mark.


The vipers have movable upper jaws, so that the fangs, when not in use, can be folded backwards and get erected with the opening of the month while inflicting injury. These vipers are viviparous. There are two categories of vipers : Pit viper and Pitless viper. In pit vipers there is a large opening in between the eye and nostril (external rares) on either side. There are no pits in pitless vipers.


These are highly poisonous and can be easily recognized by:

  1. Enlarged median rows of hexagonal scales on the trunk.
  2. Head covered with large shields.
  3. Broad band like ventrals present on the belly.
  4. Fourth infra labial scale is the largest.
  5. A rounded tail with undivided sub-caudals.

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