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Copperhead Snake

Agkistrodon contortrix

COMMON NAMES: copperhead (snake), chunk head, death adder, (dry-land) moccasin, a venomous pit viper species found in North America

IDENTIFICATION:  Copperheads are usually colorful  strikingly patterned snakes. The name comes from the copper-like coloring of the head. The background color of the back and sides is tan to pinkish. There are darker, chestnut colored bands across the back and sides. Each band is of varing width, often described as hour-glass shaped. Newborn Copperheads are colored and patterned like adults, except the last inch  of the tail which is a bright, sulfur yellow color.

SIZE:  Adult body length: 24 - 36 inches ; Body length at birth: 8 to 10 inches

HABIT:   Lives in wooded areas, among rocks, or near streams or ponds because prey are  plentiful in these  locations . Favorite hiding places include stone walls, sawdust, mulch or compost piles, and  under decaying stumps, in wood piles, under abandoned building debris, and under large flat stones. This snake will be seen basking during the day when weather is cool but not cold.

Copperhead camouflaged in leaves.

FEEDING HABITS:  Feeds on cicadas, caterpillars, mice, birds, frogs , small rodents, insects and lizards.

LIFECYCLE:  Late summer through mid-October, between 1 and 14 young are born alive rather than hatched from eggs.


  A Copperhead snake bite needs medical attention, is extremely painful, and may cause extensive scarring and loss of use. Many people are bitten while trying to kill or handle the snake. Don't take chances -- avoid these snakes.

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