In most parts of Northern America, a copperhead is one of the most widespread venomous snakes and is responsible for the majority of the venomous snake injuries in the United States. Another venomous snake species found in similar habitat is the timber rattlesnakes.
North American copperheads have a thick body and dark brown, hourglass-shaped design on light brown or grey scales. They have facial pits that detect heat and are used to locate prey and predators as pit-vipers by setting up a "sit-and-wait ambush" technique. Compared to the coral and cottonmouth snakes, the copperhead snake is longer in length. In the eastern United States, the copperhead snake is the most commonly found snake. The most severe snake injuries in the United States are caused by copperhead snakes with large fangs mounted in front of the jaw that wobbles back which helps the snake to close its mouth. The main function of the venom and fangs is to effectively slaughter their prey like amphibians, mice, and other small species of snakes but the amount of venom delivered by a single copperhead snake's bite is rarely enough to kill a healthy adult human. Northern copperheads are mainly nocturnal throughout the season. They are diurnal from April to late October. From November to April, they hibernate but come out on colder days to soak up the sun. South or west-facing rock crevices and outcroppings serve as their wintering grounds. Pregnant females may tend to winter in areas with colder climate zones.
What do they prey on?
Mice, lizards, frogs, tiny birds.
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
0.2-0.7 lb (100-354 gm)
How long are they?
20–37 in (50–95 cm)
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
Coppery-tan color (reddish)
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Wetlands, natural rocks near the mountains
Eastern and the Central United States (North and South Carolina)
Copperhead Snake Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a copperhead snake?
The copperhead snake belongs to the category of snake.
What class of animal does a copperhead snake belong to?
The copperhead snake belongs to the class of Reptiles.
How many copperhead snakes are there in the world?
Copperheads are quite abundant in the locals of North America (like North Carolina, North Georgia), there is no exact figure.
Where does a copperhead snake live?
Copperhead snakes usually live in the wildlife, coastal areas, woods, deserts, mountains, and wetlands of North America. In the central and eastern United States, the copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) can be found in 28 states. They can also be found in a few isolated wild areas of western Texas. Northern copperhead ranges widely across the United States, from southern New England in the United States to Coahuila and Chihuahua in Mexico while the Southern Copperhead ranges from Massachusetts to Texas and southwestern Nebraska and North Carolina. Both northern copperhead snakes and southern copperhead snakes are active at the beginning of the spring and end of the fall.
What is a copperhead snake's habitat?
Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) can be found in a variety of habitats, but they tend to be near streams and other bodies of water. Copperhead snakes favor wild environments that are densely covered in vines, vegetation, and waste. Their red color and patterning help them blend in with the dry leaves of the forest grounds. Their habitats can range from the tops of hills to the lowland areas and also in suburban areas, particularly in forested or undeveloped areas. If you want to see a copperhead, you can visit various zoos like the Maryland Zoo, North Carolina Zoo, Smithsonian National Zoo.
Who do copperhead snakes live with?
Copperhead snakes are quite social that hibernate in the common den with fellow copperheads and other snakes like wood rattlesnakes and black rat snakes. Every year, they seem to come back and reside in the same den. These snakes hole up in the same area to mate, eat, and drink.
How long does a copperhead snake live?
Agkistrodon contortrix or copperhead snakes have an average lifespan of 18 years.
How do they reproduce?
The reproduction of copperheads occurs from February to May and late August to October, and it can be very spectacular. It is customary for the male snakes to fight (body-shoving contests) in the presence of potential females. Although the copperhead snakes breed in the later part of summer, it does not happen every year. Females may give birth for many years before ceasing to breed for an extended period. Young copperhead snakes are about 20 cm long when they are born. Their color is lighter and they have a yellow tail tip that attracts lizards and mice. The average gestation period is of 105-110 days.
What is their conservation status?
Copperheads, common in the populations of North Carolina and other parts of Northern America, are not protected by any laws. However, they are killed by other animals and humans in many parts of their range, and many are killed by cars. This species of snake is endangered near the limits of its range and is protected in Iowa, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
Copperhead Snake Fun Facts
What do copperhead snakes look like?
Copperheads have glazed scales and a dense body. The northern copperhead has a coppery head and a reddish body with chestnut brown crossbands. The bands are often hourglass-shaped, with the broader parts on either side of the snake's body and the smaller section crossing over the tailbone. Baby copperheads have a sulfur bright yellow-tipped tail that disappears with time and is lost by the age of four.
How cute are they?
Baby copperheads are small and probably cute because they showcase different shades of red.
How do they communicate?
Copperheads can see, but they rely on their sense of smell to locate mates, catch prey, and avoid predators. They also have heat-sensitive pits on their faces, which they use to attract prey. The pits are on both sides of their faces, allowing them to hunt even in full darkness.
How big is a copperhead snake?
Copperheads are medium in size and are 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) long.
How fast can a copperhead snake move?
Like most reptiles, copperheads move slowly but can strike quickly with its venomous fangs if it feels threatened.
How much does a copperhead snake weigh?
Copperheads weigh around 4-12 oz (100-354 gm).
What are their male and female names of the species?
The males and females of this species of snakes do not have any discrete names.
What would you call a baby copperhead snake?
There is no particular name assigned to a baby copperhead but like any other snake babies, it can also be called a snakelet. According to the Smithsonian Zoo, young copperheads are born with fangs and venom as toxic as an adult's.
What do they eat?
Copperheads are carnivorous, with adults preferring to eat rodents and juveniles preferring to eat animals like salamanders, frogs, small reptiles. Their diet varies greatly depending on the availability of prey in various places and seasons. According to the information received fromADW, being a pit viper, copperheads bite their victims and then free them and wait for the venom to take effect before tracking down the prey once it has died. Smaller animals are normally held in the snake's mouth until it dies. Although young copperheads do not stalk prey like the adults, they have been reported to use their yellow tails to entice small animals. Copperheads eat their food whole, swallowing it with their flexibly hinged jaws.
Are they poisonous?
According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), copperhead snakes are venomous snakes and bites if one provokes them but their venom is comparatively less poisonous and not fatal for human beings. If one is walking through suspected copperhead territory, this snake will most likely notice first and attempt to flee just like a rat snake. It will curl up into its camouflage pile as one gets closer. As one approach, the copperhead's tail will begin to shake, or "rattle" just like a rattlesnake. If one gets any closer, the copperhead will raise its head to show that it is ready to bite if one continues to provoke it and when it notices that all its signs are getting unnoticed, it strikes to protect itself. Although like other snake bites, copperhead snake bite is not fatal for humans.
Would they make a good pet?
American copperhead is a species of snake whose bites have a poisonous venom but can be a good pet if you have proper experience in handling snakes in captivity.
Did you know?
When a snake loses in combat, it is rare for it to compete again. A female may also battle potential partners, and males who back down from a battle with her will be rejected.
Copperheads, being pit vipers, do not lay eggs instead they are incubated inside the female's body till they are prepared to hatch.
Copperhead fangs are proportional to snake length, so the longer the snake, the longer the fangs.
How to identify a copperhead snake?
Copperheads belong to the family of pit vipers having thick bodies and dark brown, hourglass-shaped crossbands on a light brown or grey background. The hourglass shape on the copperhead's back is located horizontally with the bigger part of the shape beginning on one side of the snake and thinning towards the middle-top edge of the back (closest to the spine), and then widening out on the opposite side. The natural white and black marks on the belly are a blend and the top of the head is solid brown, with two small dots in the center. Copperhead baby snakes have a bright yellow or green tail that attracts lizards and frogs. The color of the tails of baby copperhead fades as they reach the age of 3. There are five defined subspecies. They have specific light, dark brown, or greenish banding to distinguish them. Because the copperhead is a pit viper, its head has a different triangular shape. It's been labeled as an "arrowhead-shaped" head by many. The snake's fangs and venom glands are situated in these broader areas of the head. A male copperhead snake has a longer tail in comparison to a female copperhead snake.
Are copperhead snakes endangered?
The copperhead is one of only two species of snake (the other is the Timber Rattlesnake) that suffers from deliberate persecution; they are killed because of a deep-seated sociological terror. A Copperhead wrapped quietly in its native surroundings is all too often the victim of indiscriminate killing. Habitat depletion and destruction, unlawful collecting, being run over by vehicles, and human harassment have all contributed to the decrease of the copperhead population in New Jersey over the last fifty years. This reptile, including the rattlesnake, has an unjustified poor reputation and is often slaughtered in New Jersey, which is illegal. However, they are not endangered.
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