Georgia's Reptiles and Amphibians

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Northern/Southern Copperhead

Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen)
Southern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix)


Northern Copperhead
Found in Cobb County, Ga


The Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen) and the Southern Copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix) are medium size venomous snakes. The Northern copperhead has dark brown hour glass shaped markings on its back with a lighter brown background. They will usually have blotches between each marking that is usually dark brown. Also the hour glass markings will be connected. The Southern copperhead is a lot lighter and the hourglasses will be broken up and with no spots in between each marking. In Georgia most copperheads found are intergrades between the two species. The average length for both subspecies is 2ft to 3ft long. The Northern copperhead’s maximum length was just over 5ft at 63in. The Southern copperhead's maximum length was at 53 inches. The juveniles of both subspecies look identical to there parent except that they have a yellow tip on the tail that they use to bring in prey.



Both subspecies of copperheads can be found in almost any terrestrial habitats including rocky outcrops which are mostly found in the mountains, the can be found near a creek or river, on the margins of swamp, in and around abandoned farms, and in suburbia where they can be found in people own backyards. They are known to be found in English ivy patches were they conceal themselves better.



Both subspecies will prey upon small rodents, birds, lizards, frogs, volves, and even smaller snakes.


Abundance and Behavior:

The copperhead is the most common snake in the southeast. They can be found all over Georgia except for the southeastern portion. During the spring and fall they are mostly found during the daylight hours. During the hot summer months the copperhead becomes almost strictly nocturnal (comes out at night). In my experience they are most active in the fall during the second of two mating seasons. When threaten they will puff up to make themselves look bigger, rattle their tail, and will release a strong musk from their cloacae.


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Live and Let Live

All photos are taken by myself unless noted otherwise. All photos are Copyright 2005-2006. If you would like to use any of my photos just email me and I will be happy to let anyone use them.


Need Help Identifing a Snake In your area? First though look through the photos of the snakes and if still have questions email me at and I will take a look at it. And most likely be able to get you a correct anwser. Also please do not send me pictures of snakes that have been choped up into pieces. This really distresses me and I have gotten several emails where there were people who showed me pictures of snakes that they killed and all have turned out to be non-venomous.


Never Pick Up, Handle, or Try To Kill Any Venomous Snakes! Most Bites Occur That Way! Never Pick Up A Snake That You Are Uncertain About!


Disclaimer!!! Please do not do anything you see me do on this website. Some of these animals are very dangerous and I understand the risk of working with them. The bite from some of these animals can easily kill me or do extreme harm. If you do want to get into venomous herpeculture please do as much research as possible about them before considering working with them. Also I would suggest getting proper training from professional before working with them too. I do not accept any responsibility for anyone elses actions.