Do Ringneck Snakes Bite? What is the answer?

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The ringneck snake is a small snake species native to North America, and while they do have fangs, they are not usually able to bite humans. This is largely down to their size, most of these snakes are too small to do any damage to a person.


Introduction to Do Ringneck Snakes Bite?


The adorable little ringneck snake is one of the most common species of snake that has been domesticated and kept as a pet. They originally are found in the wild throughout North America and this might include countries like Mexico, the USA, and Canada, among others.

Snakes, however, are notorious for their potentially fatal bite and when keeping one as a pet, many people are terrified that their beloved sidekick might have a change of temperament and deliver a nasty nip.

In this article, we are going to be looking at whether ringneck snakes can bite, and if they do, how tragic this might be.


Do Ringneck Snakes Bite?


Pet owners across the world will be pleased to know that while a ringneck snake can bite, they rarely attack humans. These are very docile snakes and many of the domesticated animals are used to being handled and will not lash out at their owners.

Whilst many species of snake will bite if they feel threatened or scared, this behavior is seen far less in a ringneck snake who will likely resort to coiling up if he feels threatened. This is again down to their size as in the wild, these creatures may not effectively be able to defend themselves against larger animals.

However, these snakes do have a brightly colored belly and they will sometimes use this to their advantage when they are scared. You may see a frightened ringneck snake showing off these bright colors since this would tell a potential predator to leave him alone. We see bright colors being used a lot throughout nature as a warning signal.

Additionally, these snakes have the ability to give off an unpleasant odor – almost a musty smell that is used to warn away potential threats.

As a last resort, your ringneck snake may lash out if he feels that he has no other way of defending himself but if you begin to see some of the behaviors that we have detailed above, you should take this as a signal to leave the snake alone. After all, you will want to build a bond with your pet, and him being frightened of you will not allow you to achieve this.

With this in mind, it is also important to point out that due to their small size, a ringneck snake may not be able to bite a human, no matter how hard he tries. Some of these snakes are so small that they would not have the capacity to open their jaws wide enough to inflict a bite on their human owners.


Are Ringneck Snakes Venomous?


Almost all snakes have some sort of venom, this is used to help them demobilize ad digest their prey – it is one of nature’s great, yet potentially dangerous miracles. However, the level of venom and its potency will vary from species to species. For example, snakes like the king cobra and black mamba are beautiful yet incredibly deadly to humans.

In contrast, the ringneck snake is not at all poisonous to humans. But that is not to say that they are lacking in venom at all. For a long time, scientists believed that these snakes were not venomous at all but some studies now show that they do have a very small amount of weak venom that is produced in their saliva.

This venom will do nothing to harm a human but in the wild is very effective at helping the snake to slow down its prey. When the ringneck initially delivers the bite to the prey, it may have a chance to escape but this weak venom proves to be very effective at wearing the prey down, allowing the snake to catch up with it and enjoy a meal.


What About The Ringneck Snake’s Teeth?


Of course, venom is one thing but teeth are another. We see some species of a snake whose teeth are incredibly huge and just looking at them is enough to give even the most fearless human a fright. Think about the gaboon viper whose fangs are more than 5cm in length at their largest.

However, this needn’t be a concern if you are considering adopting a ringneck snake, her fangs are far smaller and are located at the back of the mouth rather than the front.

Ringneck snakes have grooved teeth and these are used as a way of delivering venom to their prey, although we still stress again, that this is not deadly to humans.

Usually, when a ringneck is hungry, she will locate her prey and constrict it before moving it to the back of her mouth where her teeth are located. She will then insert the teeth and deliver a dose of venom that will immobilize her prey.

Couple the location of the ringneck’s fangs with the fact that their head is rarely bigger than the circumference of a human’s finger and it is easy to see why these teeth do not pose a great risk to pet owners.


What Do I Do If I Am Bitten By A Ringneck Snake?


As we have discussed, it is highly unlikely that your ringneck snake will bite you because he simply won’t be able to. However, some larger ringneck snakes may be able to successfully latch on and deliver a bite but there is no reason to panic if this happens.

Since ringneck snakes are not venomous to humans, you don’t need to worry about rushing off to the hospital for a dose of anti-venom but you may wish to tend to the wound.

Any cut or break in the skin is susceptible to becoming infected and this can mean that you might become very ill, should the infection be left untreated. For this reason, it is important that you take the time to clean the wound and dress it appropriately. In many cases, if you were to be bitten by a ringneck snake, it would not break the skin but you would still need to clean the area in case of any bacteria in the snake’s saliva.

Many people are concerned that the bite may cause a lot of pain and whilst being bitten by a larger species of the non-venomous snake may be a painful experience, the bite of the ringneck will not feel any worse than a small sting. Some pet owners have compared this to the sensation of being stung by a bee.

Of course, the welfare of your pet should be one of your main priorities in this case and since he is biting, it is highly likely that he feels scared. For this reason, you should be mindful of how the snake is feeling and give him somewhere safe to calm down.




The ringneck snake is a popular household pet and this is mostly because of their small size – unlike larger species of snake, they do not need huge amounts of space nor do they require a complex diet.

However, a lot of pet owners do find themselves concerned that their beautiful ringneck snake could pose a potential risk through biting. The good news is that these snakes rarely bite humans and will only attack if they feel threatened or scared. However, before resorting to a bite, the ringneck snake will display other signs that he isn’t happy such as coiling up or showing his brightly colored belly.

On the rare occasion that this species of snake does bite, the tiny amount of weak venom will do no harm to humans and it is unlikely that the snake would even be able to break the skin.

If you are the proud owner of a ringneck snake, be sure to read the signs if your snake is trying to tell you that he is not happy and feel confident that this is not a pet that will do you any harm.

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