The hissing, head spreading, and playing possum are usually sufficient. Check for the up turned snout, which is keeled above. General coloration quite variable; yellow, brown, gray, orange, or red may predominate. Normally a spotted snake, but jet black specimens or nearly plain gray ones are common in some areas. Belly mottled, gray or greenish on yellow, light gray or pinkish. Underside of tail lighter than belly, easily checked when the snake is playing possum. Scales keeled ; anal divided.