A Hillbilly Guide to Snakes: The Southern Copperhead

Southern Copperhead...  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Public Domain.
Southern Copperhead... U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Public Domain. | Source
Copperhead... Photo by Sebastian Bergmann. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) .
Copperhead... Photo by Sebastian Bergmann. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) . | Source

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.


Southern Copperhead... By Steve Karg (Own work) [CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Southern Copperhead... By Steve Karg (Own work) [CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons | Source
Southern Copperhead... Public Domain.
Southern Copperhead... Public Domain. | Source
American Copperhead as found in the Southeastern United States. Photo taken by Michael Page on June 27, 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
American Copperhead as found in the Southeastern United States. Photo taken by Michael Page on June 27, 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. | Source

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?

Photo by Patrick Feller. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) .
Photo by Patrick Feller. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . | Source

Question 1

What kind of snake is pitcured above? Answers will be at the bottom of the article.

See results without voting
A harmless Water Snake is  commonly mistaken for a copperhead. Photo by tlindenbaum.
A harmless Water Snake is commonly mistaken for a copperhead. Photo by tlindenbaum. | Source
Hognose snakes are also often confused for copperheads because of the way they flatten their heads. By Benny Mazur from Toledo, OH [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Hognose snakes are also often confused for copperheads because of the way they flatten their heads. By Benny Mazur from Toledo, OH [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

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.


Southern Copperhead in it's natural habitat displaying it's perfect camo... Public Domain.
Southern Copperhead in it's natural habitat displaying it's perfect camo... Public Domain. | Source
Copperhead... Photo by Patrick Feller. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Copperhead... Photo by Patrick Feller. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) | Source

Habitat


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.


Southern copperhead eating a Cicada, photographed in Arkansas by Mike Perry - http://MikePerryMedia.com/. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
Southern copperhead eating a Cicada, photographed in Arkansas by Mike Perry - http://MikePerryMedia.com/. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. | Source
Copperhead... Photo by BFS Man. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Copperhead... Photo by BFS Man. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) | Source

Food


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?

Photograph/Fotograf: Mike Wesemann --  Mwx... Public Domain.
Photograph/Fotograf: Mike Wesemann -- Mwx... Public Domain. | Source

Question 2

Question 1 What kind of snake is pitcured above? Answers will be at the bottom of the article.

See results without voting
Southern Copperhead, photo by Mike Perry in Arkansas. Note the elliptical pupils and the two dark spots on the top of the head that are classic signs of the Agkistrodon contortrix. (c) http://MikePerryMedia.com/... This work is licensed under the Cre
Southern Copperhead, photo by Mike Perry in Arkansas. Note the elliptical pupils and the two dark spots on the top of the head that are classic signs of the Agkistrodon contortrix. (c) http://MikePerryMedia.com/... This work is licensed under the Cre | Source

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.


Southern Copperhead... Public Domain.
Southern Copperhead... Public Domain. | Source

Answers

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.

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Comments 8 comments

Liz-reviews profile image

Liz-reviews 4 years ago from Vancouver, BC

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.

Voted interesting


Phillbert profile image

Phillbert 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks for the comment Liz-reviews!


jrueff profile image

jrueff 3 years ago from Kansas City

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?


Phillbert profile image

Phillbert 3 years ago from The Ozarks Author

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!


mgeorge1050 profile image

mgeorge1050 2 years ago from West Georgia

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.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

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.


ann 13 months ago

Very helpful! Thank you.


Nikki Huff-Wilson 6 months ago

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....

Great read!

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