Copperhead Snake Overview

copperhead snake

courtesy of

No one wants a copperhead snake in or around their home. This venomous and very dangerous predator are sometimes called pit vipers. Pit vipers have rear curving snake fangs. They prefer to live in wooded areas with access to water. Although the copperhead has distinctive patterns, their skin can vary in shades to best camouflage themselves to their environment. A bite is possible even from baby copperheads; identifiable by their yellow tipped tail. The snake fangs, once piercing the skin, allow the flow of venom into their prey or another unwilling victim. According to statistics the copperhead snake produces the most snake bites in year.

Preventing a copperhead from sharing your yard

With their ability to blend into wooded and rocky areas, you must maintain a debris free area to best prevent a copperhead from sharing your yard. Best practices include clearing all bushy vegetation in 15 foot perimeter around your home. Clear leave piles and old tree debris. Keep your garden clear and dispose of rotting fruit or fallen plants. Replace unneeded vegetation with garden mulch or small gravel. If you are doing work in your garden or yard, especially moving logs, rocks or other trash, make sure you have rubber boots, thick gloves, and long pants. This will reduce the chance of the snake fangs from puncturing your skin. If you come across a copperhead snake while doing yard work, back away slowly. These snakes bite as a last result when not feeding.

What to do if you or your pet is bitten by a copperhead

The most important thing is to stay calm. The more agitated you are the faster the venom from the copperhead pumps through your body. It is also important to be able to identify what type of snake bite you. By all means don’t go back for more but just take a good look at it so the hospital will give you the best care possible (even identifying if it has that yellow tail to categorize it as one of the baby copperheads). Use a tourniquet to block the follow of venom near the mark of the snake fangs if there are multiple bite wounds. Have someone else drive you to the hospital; immediately. If it is your pet, pick the pet up and drive him or her to the veterinarian. Do not apply ice to the wound. Do not try and suck out the venom. That would waste time that you need to get to the hospital.

Most adults are bitten by trying to kill a copperhead snake. Many small children and animals are bitten when they curiously mess with one, especially baby copperheads.