There are many other snakes in the United States, but they are not
venomous. Here is one thing to remember: you need never fear a snake
found in this country which has _lengthwise stripes_, that is, stripes
running from head to tail. Daniel C. Beard tells me that he has learned
this from observation, and Raymond L. Ditmars, curator of reptiles in
the New York Zoological Park, agrees with him.
While the le
gthwise-striped snakes are harmless, others not striped in
this way are harmless, too. The blacksnake, though he looks an ugly
customer and, when cornered, will sometimes show fight, is not venomous
and his bite is not deep. It is, therefore, wanton cruelty to kill every
snake that crosses your path simply because it happens to be a snake.
Kephart, in his book of "Camping and Woodcraft," says in regard to
identifying the poisonous snake:
"The rattlesnake, copperhead, and cottonmouth are easily distinguished
from all other snakes, as all three of them bear a peculiar mark, or
rather a pair of marks, that no other animal possesses. This mark is
the _pit_, which is a deep cavity on each side of the face between the
nostrils and the eye, sinking into the upper jaw-bone."
If, when one has been bitten and the snake killed, an examination is
made of its head, it can be ascertained immediately whether the snake
was venomous, and in this way unnecessary fright may be avoided.