They’re recognized by presence of red, white, black banding patterns over their bodies. In some areas the pattern of banding helps in differentiation of non-venomous species from the ones that are venomous. They are natives of North America. Those found in different parts of world have distinct banding patterns and in some no banding is present at all. New World coral snakes inhabit the temperate area of usa. Arizona coral snakes are distributed from the southern and western area of Arizona.
The North American species don’t grow over 3 feet but specimens of 5 feet long coral snakes are found. Aquatic species possess flat tails which behave as fin through swimming. The behaviour of these snakes is changeable. They are quite elusive, fossorial snakes which spend most of their time by staying buried in the ground or in the leaf litter of rainforests coming just during heavy showers of rain or during the breeding period. Some species are completely aquatic and live in slow flowing water streams with dense vegetation. They are venomous and like all elapids have fangs behaving as hypodermic needles for injecting venom into the body of the victim. The fangs remain permanently erect and are present in the top of the upper jaw. They are carnivorous and feed on small lizards, snakes, frogs, nestling birds, and rats. Venom is very effective and is first injected into the body of the prey before swallowing.
They have the tendency to hold the victim after biting it. They seldom bite and less than 1% deaths are recorded by the sting of these snakes in the United States. New world snakes are dispersed in various areas of the temperate United States especially of the southern range. Most of the bite of coral snake in United States is the result of accidental contact of persons with the snake during gardening. New World snakes possess the potent venom than any of the North American snake beside that of the rattle snake. 3-5 mg of venom of the organism is able to kill a human being. Most venomous snakes inject 75-100 mg venom from the body of the victim to cause death of victim. When struck with humans they attempt to run and snack very rarely merely to protect them. They have short fangs incapable to penetrate into leather covering. Their venom is neurotoxic affecting the nervous system of prey so heavy doses of antivenom are required in order to save victim’s life. This is a rare example of Mertensian mimicry. There are some non-venomous species whose pattern appears to mimic that of coral snakes.