A beautiful but poisonous reptile of the eastern US

The American Copperhead snake, Agkistrodon contortrix, is a viviparous pit viper that lives in the eastern United States, from Iowa to southern New York state, and south to Texas and the northern part of Florida.

Copperheads are thick-bodied but do not often grow beyond three feet in length. They have a triangular head and hour-glass shaped brown patches along the body, sometimes with brown spots between them, especially in the north. Young copperheads are equipped with a yellowish tip to their tail, which they use to attract frogs and other prey.


Copperheads eat small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even insects. They tend to be ambush predators, consuming small prey immediately, and injecting larger prey with venom and then following it until it drops. Copperhead venom is usually not fatal to humans, but can be quite painful and may pose a serious threat to children and the elderly. Luckily, copperheads are not aggressive and almost all bites are caused by stepping on the animal or intentionally provoking it.

More on this species:
Wikipedia   |   ADW   |   EOL
Reptile Knowledge
Live Science
Northern Virginia Ecology
Savannah River Ecology
Desert USA



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