Copperhead
Agkistrodon contortrix

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
SUBORDER: Serpentes
FAMILY: Viperidae

SIZE:
Up to 53 inches in length

RANGE:
North America; statewide except for coastal and marsh areas

HABITAT:
Usually found in wooded areas and occasionally in moderately large numbers. Found in lowland as well as hill country.

DIET:
Wild - Mostly frogs; mice, birds
Zoo - Mice

DESCRIPTION:

  • A moderately long, heavy-bodied tan snake with a pattern of broad reddish brown crossbands.
  • Belly light brown marked with darker brown blotches; narrow dark line from the eye to the angle of the jaw.
  • A deep pit in the side of the head between the eyes and the nostril; anal plate undivided.

ADAPTATIONS:
Well camouflaged, can swim; vibrates tail against dead leaves imitating the rattle of a rattlesnake. Note: Copperhead responsible for more bites than any other venomous snake in eastern North America, but its venom is the least potent.

YOUNG:
Young born live between September and October, sometimes as early as mid-August; young range in number from 5 - 10.

Young born with a lime green tail used to attract prey.

NOTES:
Copperheads and cottonmouths are in the same genus.

STATUS:
Locally common

REFERENCES:
"The Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana," Harold A. Dundee and Douglas A. Rossman