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Is This Snake Venomous? Copperhead VS Corn Snake.

Updated on January 19, 2012
Venomous or no?
Venomous or no?

Will the real copperhead please stand up?

Here's two different kinds of snakes, however they look very similar in appearance.

One is the relatively harmless species called a corn snake. Corn snakes are members of the "rat" snake family-Colubridae. Rat snakes are non-venomous, so they have to disable and kill their prey by strangulation.

The other snake is the infamous copperhead. Members of the viper family, copperheads use their deadly venom to subdue their prey; they are anything but harmless and should be avoided!

So how do you know which is which?

  • First, note the shape of the head. Most venomous snakes have a very obvious diamond-shaped head with two pits between its eyes and nose.

  • Second, look for cat-like eye pupils. This is also a tell-tale sign to keep your distance! Venomous snakes often have these slit type of pupils.

As you probably already guessed, the corn snake is in the first picture, and the other two pictures are of the very dangerous copperhead snake.

Facts about copperheads:

  • Location: mid-Atlantic states and most of the southern states.
  • Habitat: Rocky areas, old wood slab piles, brush piles.
  • Size: 26" to 42"
  • Corn snakes aren't the only non-venomous copperhead mimics; the eastern milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum), northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon), and the eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platyrhinos) are also commonly mistaken for copperheads.
  • Copperheads are generally non-aggressive; they aren't on a mission to bite everyone! They want to be left alone, but will bite if threatened. If this happens, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY.

Remember, snakes are generally our friends.

Yes, it's true! Snakes are nature's terminator, helping farmers and home owners everyday. Their prime food source are rodents, which include mice, rats, and other disease carrying vermin.

Oh, but mice are fluffy and cute! Snakes are ugly!

Being cute isn't that great. Let's take the cons of mice vs the pros of snakes, shall we?

It's the Mice VS Snakes SMACKDOWN!!


  • Snakes: 5-6 people die a year from snake bites. You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning! (Source:



  • Snakes: They don't chew anything, they swallow things whole. Obviously, they could care less about your electrical wiring.


  • Mice: These creatures never stop pooping or peeing; besides eating and chewing, it's their favorite past time. More excrement=more disease


  • Snakes: Poop once or twice a week, and usually it's not in your kitchen cabinet or sock drawer.

Clear winner: the snake.


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    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 

      8 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      I'm not afraid of snakes, although I did need to learn about poisonous ones when we moved to NC. We have 4 venomous snakes in the state, including the copperhead. You do need to be careful during their mating season, I'm told, because they are not as shy then:)

    • hecate-horus profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Good points, thank you justmesuzanne!

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      Excellent! Too many people are unaware of the beneficial nature of non-poisonous snakes and the fairly harmless nature of poisonous ones (due to the fact that they tend to avoid human contact as much as possible!) It's unfortunate that some non-poisonous snakes masquerade as poisonous ones for their own protection, since that tactic doesn't help them much when it comes to humans! Another example of this is the non-poisonous yellow-bellied water snake, which looks quite a bit like a water moccasin. Voted up and useful! :)

    • hecate-horus profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Thanks Nicole!

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      Eek! I got the chills just reading this. Informational hub though!


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