The Copperhead or water moccasin (Agkistrodon contortrix) is a venomous snake species endemic to North America. It’s a member of this Crotalinae subfamily, the pit vipers, and 5 subspecies are recognized. The snake gets its name because of the coloration within its mind.
These snakes have been found in the USA and in northern Mexico. In the USA they can be located in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. In Mexico, it occurs in Coahuila and Chihuahua regions.
In its extensive variety, the copperhead occupies a variety of different terrains. In North America it favors forest or mostly mixed woodlands, it’s often found in ledges and rock outcroppings but also in the swampy regions.
However, in the countries surrounding the Gulf of Mexico, they can also be seen in coniferous woods. Sometime at the Chihuahuan Desert of Southern Texas and northern Mexico, the species occurs in riparian habitats close to water resources and in arroyos.
The species is also known by a number of other common names some of them are the chunk head, highland moccasin, water moccasin, swamp moccasin, black moccasin pilot snake, poplar leaf, red oak, red snake, white pine snake, cantil cobrizo in Spanish.
Adult specimen of the many subspecies of copperhead snakes generally grow to a entire period of 20 to 37 inches (50–95 cm).
Though some snakes may exceed 3,3 ft (1 m) in length, however any snake even approaching this length is considered very large for this species.
The men are usually larger than females. They have a muscular and relatively stout body and the head is broad and different. Their colour pattern is made up of pale tan to a pinkish tan floor colour, overlaid with a set of 10 to 18 light tan to pinkish tan to brown crossbands. They have keeled (ridged) scales.
Just like all pit vipers, the copperhead is chiefly an ambush predator, even taking a suitable place and waiting for their prey. But when these snakes feed on insects such as caterpillars foraging does happen and newly cicadas, in this scenario, they actively pursue their prey. They are capable of swimming and could climb into low trees or shrubs searching for prey or to bask in the sun.
From the southern areas of the USA, the species is nocturnal through the warm summer months, but they are commonly active during the day throughout the spring and fall time. Throughout winter that the copperhead hibernates in tropical dens or limestone crevices, often together with timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) and Western rat snakes (Pantherophis obsoletus). The snakes go back to the exact identical den each year.
Copperheads are social snakes and can be found close to one another sunning, denning, courting and breeding, drinking, or eating sites. The species is considered to migrate to the summer feeding lands in spring and return from this migration in early fall.
How deadly is a copperhead?
Similar to the majority of North American vipers, the copperhead prefers to prevent contact, and if given the opportunity it will leave without biting. But unlike other viperid species such snakes will often”freeze” rather than slithering off, and consequently, many bites occur from people unknowingly stepping or close to the snake.
For all these reasons, they have the distinction of biting more people in america than any other snake species. They are generally not competitive, though copperheads are poisonous and their bites are rarely fatal.
This occurs because copperheads frequently employ a kind of”warning sting” when stepped on or agitated. In this case, the snake injects a small amount of venom or not one whatsoever, a dry snack is very common with the copperhead snake.
Tests conducted on mice show their venom effectiveness is one of the smallest of pit vipers, and an estimated lethal dose is around 100 mg. The venom is also weaker than that of its close relative, the cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus).
The copperhead feeds chiefly on mice and other tiny rodents, and play a significant part in keeping the rodent population in check. The species also enjoys eating insects, other modest snakes, lizards, frogs, salamanders and animals particularly cicadas and caterpillars that are large.
The young copperheads eat mostly insects, especially caterpillars, utilizing a behavior known as caudal luring.
Copperheads are for the most part ambush predators which sit and wait patiently to strike their prey, however they sometimes consciously hunt with their heat-sensing pits to locate prey.
When they attack large prey, then the copperhead bites the prey, and releases it the venom may operate, and then track down the prey once it’s died. Till it expires they will generally hold prey.
The copperhead snake reaches sexual maturity at around 4 years roughly 2 feet in length. The copperhead’s breeding season lasts from February to May and from August to October. The females do not breed each year, sometimes they create young for several years running, then not strain at all to get a time.
The males may engage in idiosyncratic battle of body-shoving contests, when in the presence of a receptive female.The winner may also have to resist the contested female to get the right to reproduce.
These snakes are ovoviviparous, which means that eggs incubate inside the female’s body and the young are born live. The female gives birth anywhere from two to 18 live young in late summer or fall.The infant copperheads step 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) long and are created with both fangs and venom as powerful as an adult copperhead.
The youthful copperheads are very much like the adults with a lighter color pattern, and a yellow-marked tip to the tail, and they use to lure lizards and frogs.
The copperhead snake has been classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, as a result of species-wide supply, also presumed large population figures.
The public trend was stable when last assessed in 2007 and it is not likely to be declining fast enough to make up for a more threatened category listing. It’s listed as an endangered species in the state of Massachusetts .”
Northern copperhead – Located in the US, in southern Illinois, extreme northeastern Mississippi, northern Georgia northeast, northern Alabama to Massachusetts and the Appalachian Mountain region and related plateaus
South copperhead – In the United States, at the lower Mississippi Valley and also the border countries of the Gulf of Mexico, from southern Texas and southeastern Oklahoma to southern Illinois and around the South Atlantic Coastal Plain from South Carolina to the Florida panhandle.
Osage copperhead – Found in the US, in a large part of Missouri, eastern Kansas, and extreme southeastern Nebraska. Copperhead -Found in the USA, from south-central Texas, north through Oklahoma that is central into the south Kansas.
Trans-Pecos copperhead – Located in America region of western Texas in the Neighborhood of the Pecos and Devils Rivers and in Mexico in northern Chihuahua and Coahuila areas.
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