Coral Snake (Micrurus frontalis)
Serra da Canastra, Minas Gerais, Brazil
April 2001

There are a variety of rhymes that are supposed to remind you whether or not one of the many species of Coral Snake is poisonous. "Red to yellow kills a fellow" and "Red to black, friend of Jack" being two of the better known.

They are both totally useless in Brazil at least. (But see http://www.surviveoutdoors.com/reference/snakes/coral_snake.asp which indicates that these rhymes are only relevant to the USA). This wee fellow (about 1.5 metres) conforms to the second rhyme but is in fact extremely poisonous. Fortunately, it is rather shy and tends to spend most of its time hidden away under rocks or in the undergrowth and only attacks if provoked or if you stand on it.

We found this Coral Snake in the middle of the path at about 7:00 am and, since I was looking for birds in the treetops, I was only prevented from standing on it by a frantic shout from my colleague. So many thanks, "Manga chupada".

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