Northern Copperhead

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen

DIETInsects (especially cicadas), amphibians, small snakes and birds, lizards, and mice

RANGEEastern United States from Massachusetts to Georgia, westward towards Texas and Nebeks

HABITATRocky out-croppings, forested hillsides, wetlands, suburban area

Northern Copperhead

Physical Description

Northern copperheads have thick bodies with keeled scales and will grow to be 2-3 feet long. They have copper-colored heads and reddish-brown, copper bodies with chestnut brown crossbands. Heat sensing pits are found on each side of their face near their unusual eyes with vertical pupils.


Predators

Some predators they may encounter include birds of prey, coyotes, and raccoons.


Lifespan

Their average lifespan is 18 years.


Reproduction

The breeding season is typically April-May though there has also been reports of breeding in September. They are ovoviviparous, which means that the female produces eggs she carries and hatches internally and gives live birth. Their gestation will be 3-9 months with 2-10 snakes being born.


Fun Facts

  • Northern copperheads are considered social because they will hibernate in dens during the winter in large groups and will sometimes even bask in the sun in groups.
  • This species is venomous and produces hemolytic venom which causes red blood cells to breakdown; even right after birth, these snakes are capable of injecting venom with the same potency as adults.

Conservation Messaging

In our Reptile and Amphibian (RAD) center you will find many different reptiles and amphibians including venomous and poisonous species of snakes and frogs. Many of these animals fall victim to habitat loss in the wild. Many of the species here are found in South American habitats which are subjected to deforestation, damming of rivers, water pollution, and poor agricultural and management practices.

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