Animals / Reptiles

Arizona Coral Snake

Синонимы и названия на других языках

Sonoran Coralsnake, Serpiente-coralillo sonorense, Western Coral Snake


Order: scuamata

Family: elapinae

Genus: micruroides

Species: Micruroides euryxanthus.


The Arizona coral snake is endemic to North America. It can mainly be found in South-Western deserts in the USA and in the north of Mexico.

They dwell both in prairies, deserts and in the woodland. Although the Arizona coral snake is terrestrial, it is a good climber.

Внешний вид

It is a small snake that doesn’t grow more than about 40 cm. It is the smallest of coral snakes.

The Arizona coral snake is slender, with smooth scales. Its head is rounded in the front and it’s got round pupils. The color pattern is very impressive: it consists of alternating bright red, yellow and black rings.

The Arizona coral snake has a pair of fixed hollow fangs side by side in the front of the upper jaw. They are much bigger than other, non-venomous teeth, and they are bent backwards. Most often only one of them functions and the second acts as a replacement should the snake lose the first one (it happens quite often). The coral snake always grows new teeth instead of lost ones, so they never go without teeth.  


It is a very agile and venomous snake that is dangerous for people. When it is disturbed, it makes popping noises caused by emitted gases from its cloaca.  Their venom is strongly neurotoxic. First the bite doesn’t have any immediate signs: it almost doesn’t swell or redden. But soon the respiratory center in the brain gets paralyzed and the heart of the victim stops.

Nevertheless, the Arizona coral snake is not too dangerous for people. It prefers isolated locations and doesn’t come close to people’s dwellings. These snakes seldom use their teeth as protection against large animals and people. Their mouths and fangs are small and the chance of an efficient bite is rather insignificant.

Is is a burrowing species.

Содержание и уход

The Arizona coral snake should have a special enclosure due to the hazards related to its keeping. The enclosure should have a hiding place for the snake that can be safely closed from outside of the enclosure: it will guarantee the safety of the person who will be cleaning the enclosure. The enclosure should be vertical, at least 40х30х60 cm. The bottom can be covered by a thick layer of coconut cuttings. The snake will also need some branches to climb and a bowl with fresh clean water (has to be changed daily). The air inlets in the enclosure have to be safely closed since coral snakes are agile and can be adept at escaping. Also they can use the inlets for biting their owners.

The ambient temperature in the enclosure should be in the range of 22 – 24°C at night and 25 – 27°C at daytime. It is best to use the heat pad.

The Arizona coral snake needs a high level of humidity, about  70%, so you will have to mist daily.

You have to keep the light on around the clock for safety reasons, since snakes can see in the dark better than people.


In the wild the Arizona coral snake eats mainly amphibians – frogs, toads, and small reptiles – lizards and snakes. Also they can eat small mammals, for example mice, and insects. They can eat a prey that is about 1.5 times larger than themselves.

The coral snake prefers to wait for their victim in ambush and attack unexpectedly. If the potential prey managed to duck the first attack, the snake can chase it but not more than for a couple of meters.

In the captivity the menu of the coral snake normally consists of small rodents: mice and rats. It is best to feed the snake twice a week and see to not overfeeding it. You have to add minerals and vitamins to the food.


The Arizona coral snake is very venomous! 

They are not recommended to be kept as pets, but if you still decide to do that, it is best to have a special separate room for it.  

You have to remember that there is no antidote to this snake’s venom, so in 50% of cases its bite is lethal.

The wound from the bite is small, but soon the bitten person starts vomiting.


If the snake refuses to eat, it can be caused by stress, unsuitable food, or it can happen that the snake just is not hungry.  You should not try and force the food into the snake: they can live without food for a long time without any damage for their health. You should only start worrying if your snake doesn’t eat for several months. Then you need to analyze its living conditions and the menu prior to this situation. You should never try to force-feed the coral snake, it is very dangerous.

The coral snake can vomit because of stress, illness or if the prey was too big. Also it can vomit if it was fed during shedding or if the temperature in its enclosure is not suitable. After vomiting you mustn’t feed the snake for 7-10 days, and then you can offer it food taking into account the previous mistakes.

Shedding is not a disease, it is a necessary step in the snake’s growth. Its eyes get milky, their color grows paler and the skin starts coming off. During this time you should be extra careful about the humidity and clean water in the enclosure.

Mites are small parasites that live on the snake’s skin. They stick on the snake’s body between the scales and suck its blood. This can make the snake lethargic and it can turn down the food.  To get rid of mites you need to use the weak solution of the same medicine which is used against ticks on cats and dogs. You will also have to disinfect the whole enclosure.

Respiratory diseases are usually caused by potentially pathogenic bacteria if the immune system of the snake doesn’t function properly either due to a stress or to unsuitable living conditions. The symptoms include gasping, open mouth, runny nose. These diseases are treated by the injections of antibiotic called Baytril.


The Arizona coral snake is an egg-laying species but in the captivity it doesn’t breed.

The mating season starts in spring and continues into summer. In the end of summer females lay 2-3 eggs. They make a nest in fallen leaves or in a hole in the ground and warm the eggs with their bodies. During this time the snakes are extremely aggressive.

Average life span is about 15 years.

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