Harlequin Coral Snake
15-36 inches. Series of wide black and red rings, separated by narrow yellow rings, encircling the body; snout black and rear of head yellow; scales smooth and in 15 rows. The first black ring on the neck does not reach the parietal shields (two large shields on the crown of the head).
Coral snakes are secretive and rarely encountered. They forage in leaf litter during the day or evening, but remain concealed most of the time. They inhabit dry, wooded areas, especially pine lands and mixed forest. Coral snakes don't strike, but if carelessly handled they may bite unexpectedly and should not be held under any circumstances. They feed on lizards and small snakes, and lay 5-9 eggs.
The Florida Parishes east of the upper Amite River and lower Tangipahoa River. There are no confirmed records from Louisiana since the 1980s. They do not occur south of Lake Pontchartrain.