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Florida Boardwalk Animal Fact Sheet
SOUTHERN COPPERHEAD
Agkistrodon contortrix

Range:
Eastern United States, from the central to southern states, and in the eastern third of Texas. Copperheads are venomous snakes and members of the pit viper family. Pit vipers have a heat-sensing organ in a facial pit located between the eye and the nostril. The organ is useful for locating food, by detecting the body heat of prey species. Copperheads are not generally aggressive snakes and rarely injure people.
Habitat: They prefer mixed pasture and wooded lowlands, usually within a river bottom, where leaf litter, logs and branches provide places to hide. They are also sometimes found in wooded suburbs, adapting to the presence of humans.
Diet: They feed on baby cottontails, swamp rabbits, rats, mice, birds, snakes, lizards, baby turtles, frogs, toads, and insects, such as grasshoppers and cicadas. They can survive during the summer on just one meal every three weeks, and all winter without eating.
Status: Least Concern (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Length: 24 - 36 inches.

Weight: Around 10.5 ounces.

Lifespan: Around 6 to 8 years.
Reproduction & Offspring: Males reach sexual maturity within two years, females in three. Mating season is in both the spring (February to early May), and fall (August to October) with fertilization delayed until the following spring. Copperheads do not lay eggs. The eggs are kept inside the female's body until the eggs are ready to "hatch." Incubation time is 105 to 110 days. The four to eight (typically) young, 7 to 10 inches long, weigh less than an ounce (28 g) at birth. They look much like adults, yet duller in color, with yellowish tail-tips (which fade after the third or fourth year). Females provide no parental care after birth.

 

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