Cemophora coccinea — Scarletsnake
Also known as:
Subspecies I've seen:
C. c. coccinea
Cemophora coccinea coccinea — Florida Scarletsnake
This is one of two harmless southeastern U.S. snakes whose bright colors have apparently evolved to mimic the highly venomous Eastern Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius). The other mimic is the Scarlet Kingsnake (Lampropeltis elapsoides). I had yet to see either of those other two somewhat similar-looking snakes when I saw this one, but I did run across L. elapsoides not too far away a few years later.
The white blur in the upper right corner of this photo is the reflection of the flash off of a flying bug, one of approximately seventeen bajillion such bugs that swarmed around me and my flashlight beam as I tried to get this squirmy snake to stop squirming. (A few of the bugs are visible on the pavement here.) The bugs didn't seem to bite, but they did want to fly into every available orifice by the dozens. So despite this being quite a beautiful serpent, I didn't spend much time trying to get good photos.
- Bartlett, R. D., Bartlett, P. 2003. Florida's Snakes: A Guide to Their Identification and Habits
- Conant, R., Collins, J. T. 1998. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition, expanded
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Ernst, C. H., Ernst, E. M. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada
- Tennant, A. 2003. Snakes of Florida, Second Edition