Copperhead Snake

The Copperhead Snake is a long snake, growing to a full length of 30 to 35 inches. Its name comes from its plain reddish-copper colored head and lighter pink-tan body. The copperhead has darker brown crossbands over its back and down to its tail. Its coloring helps it blend in easily with the leaves and logs on the ground where it lives. These snakes have thick bodies and heavy scales like many other reptiles. It is important to remember that the bite of the copperhead snake is very poisonous and can easily cause severe illness to a human. They often live near humans, so if seen they should be avoided.

The poison of a copperhead is one of the ways in which it traps and kills its prey. Copperheads are pit vipers, and have large, hollow fangs at the front of their mouth that are connected to the bones of the upper jaw. When they open their mouths to grab an animal, these fangs are automatically brought forward and used to inject venom into the prey. Their tongue is split in two, allowing them to grab and trap food more easily. Copperhead snakes eat mostly mice, but also will kill small birds, frogs, other snakes, and insects for food. This snake can be found in moist habitats such as swamp borders, thick forests with dead leaves, cut and decaying wood, and abandoned buildings.

Copperheads are very social snakes. They live in dens with other copperheads over the winter and come out in the spring to mate. Mating takes place twice a year--in the early fall and spring. If a snake mates in the fall, the eggs will hatch the following spring. The female copperhead carries her eggs internally for 110 days and then released them into a den she has built out of leaves and twigs. Within 3 or 4 days these eggs will hatch. Young copperheads are very strong, but are often killed by other reptiles or amphibians who eat them.

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