Copperhead Snakes

What do copperhead snakes look like?

Copperheads derive their name from their copper-colored heads. The rest of their body, their back and sides, have a tan to pinkish background color, and their striking pattern is topped off with hourglass shaped cross bands that vary in color among different Copperhead populations; these bands may be copper, pinkish, reddish brown, or orange. Young Copperheads have a yellow tip at the end of their tails, which they flick back and forth in a way that attracts prey. These young, by the way, do not hatch from an egg. The female Copperheads are "viviparous," or "ovoviviparous" which means they give birth to fully-formed, live young.                  


Where do copperhead snakes live?

Copperheads can be found in most habitats in coastal areas, marshes, forests, fields, and wooded slopes and ravines. The Northern Copperhead lives in rocky and wooded parts of hilly and mountainous areas. It often is found in piles of rotting wood slabs or sawdust that remain from former sawmills. It often occurs on farms, and sometimes people find it in towns or cities.             


What do copperhead snakes eat?

The Copperheads feed on mice, small birds, small snakes, insects, and amphibians. Camouflaged by their color and pattern, the snakes usually catch their prey by ambushing unsuspecting animals that pass within striking distance. The snakes do not only effectively control the populations of these small animals, the Copperheads also play an important part in the food web because they in turn are an important food source for hawks and other predators.

How long do copperhead snakes live?

The oldest reported copperhead in the wild was 30 years old. The average life span is much less; according to studies, only five percent live to be older than eight years of age. Copperhead snakes usually live 1-7 years in the wild.

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