Coral snakes are colorful and nice-looking creatures found in several areas of the country. Here is some important information surrounding these snakes, and some general clues for identification. Let’s also remember that corals are venomous and even though they are not too aggressive, they are Elapids (Cobra family), and bites could be fatal without medical treatment.
Fact 1: There are several kinds of coral snakes; however, they are very similar to each other. The patterns of the color go in the same order: red, yellow (or milky white) and black, completing a full circle around their body.
Fact 2: Mimics. There are some kinds of snakes that look very similar; they use mimic colors as a self-defense mechanism. But if you look closely you will find some dissimilarities such as a different order in the colors or the circles which might not be complete. Some examples are Erythrolamprus bizona or scaphiodontophis annulatus.
Fact 3: They lay eggs. Snakes and birds share ancestors in the evolution chain. Some other snakes have evolved and they give birth to fully developed babies instead.
Fact 4: Don’t always trust the famous "red to yellow kill a fellow" phrase since it does not apply in all cases. In some coral snakes you might see white instead of yellow.
Fact 5: There is only one coral snake that has strictly a pattern of two rings, and it is only found in the Atlantic area of Costa Rica. These snakes are nocturnal and extremely shy. This is very useful information for locals as they are prone to kill any snake that has a similarity with a coral snake.
Fact 6: In Costa Rica, it is illegal to kill snakes or any other wild animals.
Spreading knowledge about these snakes will, hopefully, make a difference in the mindset of the people in this culture, thus preventing unfortunate encounters with these creatures.