According to all we have been taught, the snake in the picture above must be venomous (poisonous), right? Wrong. The snake in the picture is an Eastern Garter Snake, and is perfectly harmless; a bite from it would barely hurt, and would not "make you sick" as some claim. This photo was kindly provided by Mark Harvell, a musician from South Carolina. You can see his web site at Grass Roots Exchange.
Certainly looks like a Viper, doesn't it? Here's a close up of the head:
These were taken by a Mr. Lauridson of Alabama. They are pictures of a baby Gray Rat Snake. Babies of all Rat Snakes look the same; the others (Black and Yellow Rat Snakes) change colors as they grow. Rat snakes are also perfectly harmless.
These pictures illustrate perfectly what I have preached for years; that head shape cannot tell us anything about a snake. Most harmless snakes have heads that are bigger than their bodies, and many of them can move the bones of the jaws around to make the head even bigger. Garter Snakes are good at this, and the harmless Hognose Snake has carried this to extremes, making their head look like that of a Cobra.
I want to extend my extreme appreciation to the people who contributed these photos, and hope that they might help a few harmless snakes in the future. Thanks folks.