Harlequin Coralsnake

Micrurus fulvius (State Status: S3; vulnerable)


Coralsnakes are highly-venomous members of Family Elapidae (cobras are in this family, for example). They can be found throughout much of the coastal plains of the southeast and range throughout southern Mississippi. They generally inhabit sandy pine forests and savannas in the longleaf pine belt, as well as hammocks near ponds and streams (Behler & King, 1979; Powell et al., 2016). Colors are black, yellow, and red. This species should not be confused with its harmless mimics, the scarlet snake and the scarlet kingsnake. Generally, this species has a black snout, with yellow bands adjacent to black bands. Although highly venomous, they are generally secretive and docile, and will move along without harming people or pets if left alone. Coral snakes predate small reptiles (Behler & King, 1979).

Harlequin Coralsnake found crossing the road in the early morning, Liberty Co. (FL), © CJ Hillard

Identifying Traits

  • Black snout, yellow bands usually touch black bands, however general head and body shape are best identifying characters. Relatively uncommon in MS. 


Sandy pine forests and savannas, wet hammock forests.


Generally active among leaf litter, found under logs. Erratic movers, generally docile when encountered.


Small lizards and snakes

Individual found at dusk, Liberty Co. (FL), © CJ Hillard