Agkistrodon Contortix... Or Ahhhh!!! Copperhead!!!
The southern copperhead is a venomous member of the pit viper family found in the United States.They are experts at camouflage and nearly impossible to spot in a pile of leaves. In the southern United States they are often feared more than respected, and every kid has been told by their parents to avoid them.
What does a copperhead snake look like?
Although many snakes are confused for the copperhead they are quite unique in their camouflage pattern. The southern copperhead will have an underlying color which is usually a light brown or pink. They will have a pattern that will be a reddish brown to dark brown. The head of course will have a copper color which renders the name copperhead.
The southern copperhead is a venomous pit viper with a head that will have a triangular shape due to the large venom glands that has in the side of its head. These venom glands will cause it is cheeks to look puffy which is what causes the triangular shape. They will also have slit eyes like a cat. Because they are a member of the pit viper family they will have two extra holes in their nostrils which are called pits. The pits are used as heat sensing organs.
The southern copperhead isn't a huge snake but they can get quite large. Typical adults range between 25 and 35 inches.
What Kind of Snake am I?
Snakes Commonly mistaken for a Copperhead
There are no shortage of snakes commonly mistaken for copperheads. I couldn't tell you how many times someone has told me that they've killed a copperhead only to find what they actually killed with such malice was not but a harmless nonvenomous snake. Many nonvenomous snakes share a similar color or pattern. Probably the thing that makes the copperhead the most unique, and the thing by which to identify them is their face. If you compare a viper's face to that of a nonvenomous they look nothing alike.
The southern copperhead ranges from the South Eastern United States in Florida all the way up north to Maryland or Delaware and as far west as Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.
The southern copperhead is not overly picky about its habitat. They prefer wetlands, however they can be found in wooded areas, pastures, and even places where people live. The seven copperhead is nearly impossible. Because of their camouflage the southern copperhead is nearly impossible to spot in leaves or brush.
The southern copperhead feeds primarily on rodents, however they have also been known to eat small mammals, birds, and amphibians, other reptiles, and even insects. They especially like cicadas. The copperhead subdues and kills it's prey by using venom.
What kind of snake am I?
Interactions With Humans
The southern copperhead is venomous, and that makes it very dangerous. There are very few fatalities amongst humans that have been bitten by copperheads, however that does not mean that they are safe to handle for people who are not professionals. A bite from a copperhead causes severe pain and can cause extensive tissue damage amongst other problems. Many nonvenomous snakes are killed by humans who mistake them for copperheads. Many copperheads are killed as they have a reputation for being aggressive to humans. However, like most venomous snakes if the copperhead is left alone it will most likely not bother humans. Most humans are bit while attempting to kill or handle snakes that are venomous. To avoid a bite from a copperhead simply leave it alone and do not attempt to kill or handle it.
1. Copperhead... Noticed the pattern and coloring along with the shape of it's head. If you look closely enough you can see the slitted eyes that also marks it as venomous.
2. Cornsnake... Notice the shape of the head and the round eyes.
SomeKid on June 27, 2017:
Great article! The other week I saw one at Lake Erie and tried to catch it, but lost it in the rocks. I didn't realize it was a Copperhead, and then I thought "What snake was that?" Forgot bout these lil fellas. Their so jittery.
Nikki Huff-Wilson on May 28, 2016:
I read another article, about how easy it is to find a Copperhead & how un-aggressive they are...So thank u so much for knowing ur facts....
ann on November 06, 2015:
Very helpful! Thank you.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 08, 2014:
I had both answers correct and these are beautiful snakes but with a deadly effect. Your hubs on snakes interesting and informative. The photos show professionalism in your hubs. Voted up, interesting and useful, beautiful. and awesome.
Alan from West Georgia on March 04, 2014:
Great article, well done. We have a ton of these things out here in west Georgia. I keep chickens for their eggs, and these guys love to visit the chickens from time to time. I have to keep a close eye out while collecting eggs.
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on April 08, 2013:
It sure looks like it! I appreciate it! I'm glad you are enjoying my hubs. I actually haven't written one in a good while. I published my first novel this past year, wrote a ton of short stories a few of which have been published now, and focused more on my website as of late. So it's good to know that my hubs are still making the rounds and being enjoyed!
Joshua Rueff from Kansas City on March 19, 2013:
I have to say, I'm starting to get hooked on your hillbilly guides - I'll be back for more tomorrow... am I the only one that voted this hub beautiful?
Phillip Drayer Duncan (author) from The Ozarks on November 25, 2012:
Thanks for the comment Liz-reviews!
Eunice Elizabeth from Vancouver, BC on September 27, 2012:
Well done on the snake Hub. No problem with me going anywhere near a venomous snake, I prefer the non poisonous. I never realized there were so many kinds and colors of copperhead snakes. Good info.