Monday, April 2, 2012

Animal Tips for Writers: Copperheads

The copperhead is one of four kinds of venomous snake that your hero can encounter in the United States. They are typically light brown with darker bands along their body, and can grow up to around three feet long with a moderately heavy build. Like the cottonmouth, the copperhead is most common in the southeastern United States. However, its range extends north all the way up into New England.

Copperheads usually live in forests, and their diet generally consists of rodents, but they will also eat insects and frogs. They often stay still and ambush their prey as it passes by, and this propensity for staying still can cause them not to flee when humans approach. If they are camouflaged in the leaves, a human might step on or near them without seeing them and thus be bitten. While copperhead venom is slightly less potent than that of the cottonmouth, they are more likely to bite than a cottonmouth and are quick to strike at a perceived threat, though sometimes they don’t inject much venom in a warning bite.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner


  1. Pretty but dangerous. :)

    What kind of damage does their venom do to a human?

    1. Yes. :)

      I think it causes tissue damage, potentially harmful changes in the blood, and perhaps shock.