Only very few poisonous snakes (like Naja elaps) are known to resent the approach of man so much as to follow him on his retreat and to attack him.
A still more remarkable resemblance exists in the shape and striking, red, black and yellow coloration between Scolecophis aemulus of Chihuahua and the poisonous Elaps fulvius, the American coral-snake, but Cope has been careful to point out that these two creatures are not known to inhabit the same district.
Elaps, the "hamadryad," "snake-eating cobra," or king-cobra of Indian countries, reaching more than 12 ft.
They are the tropical American Elaps, the Indian Callophis, the African Poecilophis and the Australian Vermicella.
The majority are distinguished by the beautiful arrangement of their bright and highly ornamental colours; many species of Elaps have the pattern of the so-called coral-snakes, their body being encircled by black, red and yellow rings - a pattern FIG.
- A Poisonous Snake (Elaps fulvius) swallowing a similarly coloured Opisthoglyphous Snake (Homalocranium semicinctum).
They are also comparatively of small size, only a few species rarely exceeding a length of 3 ft., for instance Elaps fulvius, which extends into the S.
Among venomous snakes the harlequin, or coral snake (Elaps fulvius) is common along the coast; the copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) along the wooded banks of creeks and rivers; the cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus), in all parts of the state except the more arid districts; the "sidewiper," or massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus consors, sometimes called Crotalophorus tergeminus) and the ground rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius), in all sections.
In tropical America the genus Elaps, which is both poisonous and warningly coloured, is a model for several innocuous snakes.
In Guatemala Elaps fulvus is mimicked by Pliocerus equalis; in Mexico Elaps corallinus by Homalocranium semicinctum, and in Brazil, Elaps lemniscatus by Oxyrhopus trigeminus.