New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center
Venomous and Non-Venomous Snakes in New Mexico
Venomous snakes have triangular heads, elliptical pupils, and upper jaws with fangs. They also have belly plates that
extend all the way across their bodies to their blunt or rounded tails.
A number of venomous and non-venomous snakes live in our area. Venomous snakes include the prairie, western
diamondback, rock, Mojave, ridgenose and massasauga rattlesnakes and the coral snake.
Non-Venomous snakes that live in New Mexico
Non-venomous snakes have rounded heads, rounded pupils, sharp teeth and no
fangs. Their belly plates are in two sections to their sharp, pointed tails.
Non-venomous snakes include the bull or gopher snake, seven species of garter snake,
hognose snake, western coach whip snake, desert king snake, New Mexico milk snake, water snake, and corn snake.
Tips to Prevent Snake Bites
DO NOT tease or try to capture or handle a venomous snake.
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Walk in areas where the ground is clear so you can see where you step.
Wear protective clothing, such as long pants and hiking boots.
Wear gloves when using your hands to move brush or rocks.
Never put your hands or feet into places you cannot see.
Patch holes in your home that are more than a 1/4 inch wide.
If you encounter a snake, don't panic or blindly run away without looking carefully where you are going.
First Aid for Snake Bites
- Get to a hospital immediately. The only accepted treatment is the appropriate serum, or antivenin, administered by a medical professional. If the trip is a long walking distance, send someone for help.
- Remain calm. Activity speeds your heart rate and your metabolism, which increases the rate the venom spreads through your body.
- Put a safe distance between you and the snake. Do not attempt to capture the snake.
- Remove rings, watches, and bracelets from around the bite area.
- Keep the bite area immobilized and level with your heart.
- Carry a cell phone to call the New Mexico Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for help.
- DO NOT use a tourniquet or any other local treatment
- DO NOT use the "cut-and-suck" method
- DO NOT use ice on the bite