Eastern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) - Ohio Herp Atlas

Eastern Copperhead Agkistrodon contortrix

Copperheads have the dubious distinction of having bitten more people in the United States than any other venomous snake, yet fewer snakebite deaths are attributed to the copperhead. Since the amount of venom injected during a bite is not enough to seriously hurt a healthy adult, the bite is rarely fatal. However, it is extremely painful, and, like a honeybee sting, has the potential to produce a life-threatening allergic reaction. Copperheads are widely scattered throughout most of unglaciated Ohio. Although they occupy a variety of habitats from floodplains to ridge tops, they show a marked preference for the rocky, wooded hillsides of southeastern Ohio. They are not as averse to civilization as the timber rattlesnake, but copperheads tend to stay away from well-settled areas. Their coloration not only serves as excellent camouflage, but also makes them one of Ohio’s most beautiful reptiles. When encountered, Copperheads are usually content to lie motionless or retreat if given the chance. But if aroused, they will vibrate their tail rapidly and strike wildly. Except in early spring and late fall, most of their day is spent in hiding. They hunt small mammals, birds, and amphibians by night. One of the best ways to see copperheads is to go for a drive at night, especially after a warm rain has broken a long hot, dry spell. Copperheads can often be found crossing the wet, steaming roads. LENGTH: 24”–36”

Text courtesy of the Ohio Division of Wildlife: https://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/portals/wildlife/pdfs/publications/id%20guides/pub354_Reptiles-opt.pdf

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Eastern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)
Photographs