whatsthmattawyou asked: Your posting about California Nightsnakes indicated that they are poisonous. It also mentions Ringneck snakes as poisonous. Would those Ringnecks be residents of the U.S? I had thought that there were only four poisonous U.S. snakes (rattlers, moccasins, and copperheads). To these, what other U.S. snakes would you add?
Venomous Snakes in the United States
So, I would use the word “venomous”, instead of poisonous. The correct term for animals that inject poison via sting or bite are more properly referred to as venomous. An animal that one would ingest and thus become poisoned by would be called “poisonous”.
Also, we need to understand that there are levels of venomous-ness. I would say that, in the United States, the seriously venomous snakes, those that are of grave/serious medical concern to humans, are the 2 species of coral snake, the copperhead, the cottonmouth, and several species of rattlesnake.
We also have a few species of rear-fanged-venomous snake, such as Night Snakes and Hognoses. Their venoms tend to be more geared towards their cold-blooded prey, reptiles and amphibians, and though they may have minor health effects, are generally not of serious health concern (this statement applies specifically to the United States, and should not be considered accurate in other countries and regions).
Along with those snakes, there are also a number of small colubrid snakes with venom components to their saliva. These venoms may have a variety of effects on their smaller prey, such as sluggishness or paralysis. This includes snakes like Ringneck Snakes and Garter/Ribbon Snakes. These snakes do not have injecting fangs, and the venomous components of the saliva enter the prey through the bite wounds of all the teeth. The venoms of these snakes, again, may cause some pain or minor and short term health effects, but are generally not considered serious to humans.
(photo: Southern Copperhead, A. c. contortrix, Covington, Georgia, USA, at the entrance to Bert Adams Scout Reservation)
* it should also be noted, that a number of lizards have now been found with venom glands, and venom components to their saliva, beyond just the Helodermatid lizards, Gila and Beaded.