Copperhead

Copperhead

Copperhead
Agkistrodon contortrix


CLASS
Reptilia
ORDER
Squamata
FAMILY
Viperidae

Range

Eastern United States to the central and southern states


Habitat

Prefer terrestrial to semi-aquatic habitats, which include rocky-forested hillsides and various wetlands.


Diet

Mostly mice but also small birds, lizards, small snakes, amphibians, and insects (especially cicadas)

Length

Avg. 30 in.

Gestation

3 - 9 months

Young

Avg. 2 - 10

IUCN Status

Least Concern

Facts

  • Venomous
  • Has heat-sensing "pits" located between the eyes and nostrils.
  • Its bite is seldom fatal because of its short fangs and small amount of venom.
  • These social snakes may hibernate in a communal den with other copperheads or other species of snakes including timber rattlesnakes and black rat snakes.
  • Newborn copperheads have fully functional fangs that are capable of injecting venom that is just as toxic as adult venom.
  • The fangs are replaced periodically, with each snake having a series of five to seven replacement fangs in the gums behind and above the current functional fang.
  • Sometimes when touched, they emit a musk that smells like cucumbers.

 

Conservation

No major threats are known. Locally, habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation probably have resulted in declines in copperhead abundance.

Least Concern
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