DEEP: Northern Copperhead

Northern Copperhead

(Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen)

{Northern Copperhead Snake}

IDENTIFICATION: A medium-size, heavy bodied snake, with keeled dorsal scales, and a distinctive pattern of yellow-brown hourglass-shaped bands on a coppery brown dorsum. The venter is pinkish with darker areas. The yellow eyes have vertical pupils (all other snakes found in Connecticut have round pupils except the timber rattlesnake), and there are two openings on each side of the head (all other snakes found in Connecticut have one opening except the timber rattlesnake), a nostril and a heat sensitive pit. The head is much wider than the neck and very angular in profile. Adult total length 580-940 mm.

The copperhead is one of two venomous snake species found in Connecticut. It is a southern species, reaching its northeastern range limit in central and eastern Massachusetts and in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York. In Connecticut, it occurs in the coastal zone, as well as in the southwestern and southeastern hills. In the Central Connecticut Lowland, it is primarily associated with the trap rock ridge system on the west side of the Connecticut River. The copperhead is absent from large portions of Litchfield County, as well as Tolland and Windham Counties. Although large copperhead populations still exist, they have declined precipitously in Fairfield County, where they are now rare, and the encroachment of development to their den sites in the Central Connecticut Lowland has resulted in increased mortality near several of the major denning areas. Copperheads are considered a species of conservation concern in both Massachusetts and New York.

Snakes | Amphibians and Reptiles in Connecticut