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Copperhead Snake

Facts About The Copperhead Snake

A copperhead snake is a pit viper and belongs to the same family of snakes as the cottonmouth snake. More venomous snake bites are caused by the copperhead snake than any other snakes. The good news is: although venomous, the bite of a copperhead is rarely life threatening. However, it does require medical treatment. A cottonmouth bite, on the other hand, can be fatal.

The copperhead snake is thus named because of its copper-colored head. The back and sides are tan and sometimes pinkish with darker brown bands crossing the back and sides. The bands vary in width and are hour-glass shaped. Baby copperheads are the same color, but have a bright yellowish or greenish tip on their tails. Most adult snakes are from two to three feet long although some grow to over forty inches long. They can live to be over twenty years old.

Copperhead snakes hibernate in dens over the winter months. They mate soon after awakening in the spring. The copperhead snake gives birth to live young - she does not lay eggs. A litter can have anywhere from 3 to 12 snakes. The female gestational period is generally three months, though it can be a little longer.

Copperhead snakes eat:

• Rodents

• Lizards

• Insects

• Birds

• Other snakes

• Amphibians

The young copperhead’s diet is supplemented with extra protein from invertebrates. As the snake matures, more and more of its diet will come from mice. As they are growing, young copperheads shed their skin frequently while adults shed their skin one to three times each year.

Copperheads can be found across the United States, especially in the southern states. They like to be near water, but it is not uncommon for the copperhead snake to be found in wooded areas, meadows, and in undeveloped suburban areas. A drought or search for food will lead them into suburban backyards. They are frequently seen at night crossing the road and are drawn to locations with lots of vegetation, vines and debris.

Copperheads have the perfect color pattern for camouflage and when threatened, will first play dead, lying very still until the threat is gone. They only bite as a last resort and will not bite a human unless the person inadvertently steps on them, tries to catch them or just comes too close.

The copperhead snake will vibrate its tail when threatened, so if you see this reaction, get out of the immediate area quickly. The fact that more venomous snake bites come from copperheads than any other snake lies in the fact that they reside in populated areas closer to humans than many other venomous snakes. While not fatal to humans, a copperhead bite can be fatal to smaller animals such as dogs.


 

 

 


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