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Copperhead Caution

As I was walking along a neighborhood sidewalk today, I stopped dead in my tracks when I noticed something slithering along a few yards ahead of me. Having some knowledge of snakes in the area, I immediately recognized it as a copperhead and knew to stay back until it was out of sight.  Because this snake is so common and responsible for a large number of snake bites in the US every year, it’s important to be aware of them and know how to recognize and avoid these critters.

Snakes are not an indoor problem and cannot really be treated for by pest control companies.  However, they are considered pests by many people and, if encountered in certain situations, can be dangerous.  Copperheads are found throughout the eastern United States as far north as New York and as far west as Texas. There are several different species of copperheads, but they all follow the same general pattern when it comes to appearance. These venomous snakes have a light brown, sometimes even pinkish base color with darker brown or reddish patterns along the body.  The patterns vary from simple bands to a more triangular shape. The body of the copperhead can resemble other snake species such as the corn snake.  However, the distinct triangular shaped head of a copper head distinguishes it.

Copperhead bites are relatively common, partially because they are easy to stumble upon because their pattern allows them to blend in easily with the ground.  Like most snakes, they aren’t particularly aggressive toward humans, but if they feel threatened they may bite.  A copperhead bite can be very dangerous and requires medical attention, but these bites usually aren’t life threatening.  Though they are venomous, when biting humans, copperheads are only defending themselves not trying to feed, and therefore use very little venom.  If you see a copperhead, no matter how interested you are in snakes, leave them alone. They aren’t used to humans and may see you as a threat.

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