The copperhead snake is a venomous snake found throughout the southern and eastern United States. These snakes have some very unique characteristics and habits which can result in unintentional encounters with humans. When the Copperhead feels threatened, rather than flee, it will remain stationary, hoping to go undetected. This defense mechanism can not only lead to more encounters with humans, it also results in the deaths of many Copperheads once they are discovered.
States where the Copperhead is found: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts.
The copperhead prefers woodland areas but will follow its primary food source which is mice and voles. This can lead to copperheads being found in barns, grain elevators, and other areas where mice gather to feed. Copperheads also enjoy rocky outcroppings where food is plentiful and they can easily sun themselves.
Adult copperheads can grow to lengths of 37 inches. The largest recorded specimen was 52 inches in length. Copperheads give birth to as many as 20 live young in late summer. The young will look very similar to the adults except the young will have a yellow tip on their tail. The tail is used to lure prey close enough for the young snakes to capture and eat. Adult copperheads, like most venomous snakes, are ambush hunters.
The copperhead snake got its name from the copper color of its head. The head will be triangular in shape and will be a solid color. The body of the copperhead is divided by bands which can appear as large triangles. The bands will vary in color from pale brown to a pinkish tan, and grow darker toward the edges.
While the copperhead is venomous, it is not considered a dangerous breed of snake. There are several reasons for this. The copperhead will often strike with a warning bite if stepped on or disturbed. No venom is used in the warning bite which is generally sufficient to cause an immediate retreat by most humans. The venom of the copperhead is also the lowest of all pit vipers. Combined with a low venom yield, the copperhead bite is very seldom fatal. The persons with the most to fear from a copperhead bite are the very young, or persons with other underlying health conditions. There is always the threat of an allergic reaction. While generally not considered life threatening, any bite victim should seek immediate medical attention.