Southern Copperhead

Southern Copperhead   Agkistrodon contortrix

Type of Animal:

Mixed pasture, low wet woodland (open & closed), suburbs, rocky woodland (open & closed), mountainous areas, thickets near streams/ponds, canyons, abandoned farm buildings, junkyards, old construction areas, mixed woodland (open & closed), forests, forest edges/clearings, rock outcroppings/ledges, swampland, streamsides, pond areas, rocky hillsides, gardens, flowerbeds, marshland, wetlands, wood piles, sawdust piles, creeks, riversides, rural areas, backyards, scrub forest, caves, abandoned mines, rock crevices, building foundations, pine woodland (open & closed), deciduous woodland (open & closed)

Found in lower Mississippi Valley & Gulf States, from E Texas/SE Oklahoma to S Illinois & on S Atlantic Coastal Plain from Florida panhandle to S Carolina.

Pale brown to light tan w/ pinkish tint, yellow eyes w/ elliptical/catlike pupils, dark hourglass shaped crossbands, youngsters grayer in color w/ yellow tail tip, copper-red head

Small mammals, birds, lizards, smaller snakes, amphibians, cicadas, caterpillars, small turtles, grasshoppers, carrion, baby alligators, spiders

Status in Wild:

Breeding from zoos & reptile breeders

Solitary or small groups

Additional Info:


Male-8-12 oz
Female-6 oz
Young-2 oz

3-6 months 

Life Span:
6-8 years in wild, up to 15 years in captivity

Body Length:
Male-2 ft
Female-3 ft
Young-1 ft

Tail Length:
Male-6 in
Female-4 in

Main predators are alligators, snapping turtles, raptors, foxes, bobcats, coyotes, bears, kingsnakes, racers, dogs, cats, opossums, cottonmouths, corvids, bullfrogs, indigo snakes, coral snakes, eastern garter snakes (prey mostly on young), otters, raccoons, & pigs.

Often den w/ other copperheads, as well as rattlesnakes & black rat snakes.

Males engage in body-shoving contests over females during 2 breeding seasons, 1 in February-May & 1 from late August-October.

Females give birth to 2-18 live young from late August-October.

Fun Fact(s):
These snakes non-aggressive & never bite if not bothered.

Venom of baby copperheads just as potent as that of adults.

Northern Democrats who opposed Civil War known as copperheads.

Due to proximity to people, one of most likely snakes to bite. People often step on them due to amazing camouflage. Since the venom not that potent, death very rare. However, medical attention should always be sought since venom hemotoxic, causing tissue damage.

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