fbpx Skip to Content

Southern Copperhead

Agkistrodon contortrix

Southern Hospitality

Southern copperheads are social snakes and may hibernate in a communal den with other copperheads or other species of snake. In the Zoo's Herpetarium, we have a southern copperhead and timber rattlesnake that cohabitat, a potential occurrence in southeastern United States.

About the Species

Temperature-sensitive pit organs are present below the midline between the eye and the nostril.

This snake has a distinctive reddish-brown body with a cross band pattern of tan, copper and brown colors. They are heavy bodied snakes. Their head is distinct from the rest of the body as it is a solid rich brown color.Although copperheads are venomous, their venom is somewhat mild compared to other snake species and is usually not fatal to healthy human adults. Juveniles are grayer in color and have a yellow tinted tail tip until the age of 3 to 4 years. The tinted tail lures small prey by mimicking caterpillar movements. Juveniles and adults have fully functioning fangs that can deliver proportionately equal amounts of venom to their prey.

Words From the Experts


Copperheads have some of the best camouflage of any North American snake. This snake's venom is being used in studies for potentially treating breast cancer.



Did You Know?

The facial pits located on either side of their face detect extremely subtle differences in temperature, allowing the snake to determine the direction from where the heat source originates.


World Icon


Southeastern United States

Leaf Icon


Forests, woodlands, swamps, caves, suburban areas

Scale Icon


76 cm. in length

Knife and Fork Icon


Rodents, frogs and lizards, bird

Danger Icon


Birds of prey, opossums, coyotes, other snakes

Shield Icon

Natural Defenses

Camouflage, rattlesnake mimicry

Heart Icon


1–21 per clutch

Question Bubble Icon


Least concern

Heart with Heartrate Icon

Life Expectancy

15 years

  • Saving reptiles and amphibians
  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums