Adult length: 31 in. (80 cm); maximum reported length: 51 in. (129.5 cm); appearance: males have longer tails than females, but females reach a greater total length; dorsal scales are smooth in 15 rows; ventral scales number 197-217 in males and 219-233 in females; there are 40-47 subcaudals in males and 30-37 in females; the anal plate is divided; coloration: pattern consists of a series of rings that encircle the body: wide red and black rings separated by narrow yellow rings. The head is black from the rostral to just behind the eyes. The red rings are usually speckled with black. The scales are smooth. The pupil is round. The color pattern of the young is the same as the adults. Fangs are permanent, erect, and hollow proteroglyphous near the front of the maxillae. The venom duct is not attached to the fang directly but enters a small cavity in the gum above the entrance lumen of the gum.