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The color pattern consists of an hourglass pattern that runs the length of the body. From above, a series of dark chestnut crossbands look narrow in the center and wider on the sides. Between the crossbands, small dark spots are often present. There are dark rounded spots at the sides of the belly. The head is a copper-red color. Juvenile specimens are lighter in color, have a yellow tail tip, and a narrow dark line that runs through the eye that divides the darker head from the lighter colored labial scales.
Although venomous, these snakes are generally not aggressive and bites are almost never fatal.