Fun Northern Copperhead Facts For Kids

Abhishek Mishra
Oct 20, 2022 By Abhishek Mishra
Originally Published on Aug 29, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Interesting northern copperhead facts for kids.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.8 Min

A venomous pit viper species of the order Squamata, the northern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen) is endemic to the eastern United States. These reptiles are most likely to bite but the venom is relativity mild and is considered rarely fatal to humans.

Also, this species is best known for its copper-red head. Names such as copperhead and highland moccasin are also used to refer to this species.

These snakes are generally found in brown or reddish-tan colors. While the head is solid copper in color, the color of the body helps this species blend in with the surroundings.

An hourglass-shaped pattern is visible throughout the body. A series of dark copperish-colored crossbands are narrow in the center and wider on the sides, while crossbands also possess small and dark spots. Neonates or young copperheads are generally paler in color.

While the yellow-tipped tail is used to coax prey, they are also born with fangs. The average weight and length of this species are around 100-340 g (0.22-0.74 lb) and 24–36 in (61-91 cm), respectively.

This snake's range extends from Massachusetts in the north and east to Illinois, while in the west these snakes are found in Georgia, and in the south in Alabama. Also, these snakes are found in the northern region of New Jersey and they can be spotted in states like New York, and Florida too.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has Not Evaluated the status of this species but the population has been declining due to habitat loss, illegal hunting, and accidents.

Let's read more fun facts about the northern copperhead, and if you find this article interesting, don't forget to check out exciting facts about different animals like the sea snake and the golden tree snake.

Northern Copperhead Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a northern copperhead?

The northern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen) is one of the species of pit vipers found in the eastern United States. These venomous snakes are known by different names such as resident copperhead, highland moccasin, and copperhead. The northern copperhead uses its yellow tail to lure prey.

What class of animal does a northern copperhead belong to?

These venomous snakes belong to the class of Reptilia, the family of Viperidae, and the Agkistrodon genus. Species such as the eastern copperhead and broad-banded copperhead belong to the same genus.

How many northern copperheads are there in the world?

The exact population of these pit vipers is not known but the numbers have declined drastically over the past 50 years in states like New Jersey. Due to this decline, the species is listed as a Species of Special Concern in the state. However, the population of the species is considered to be more stable than the timber rattlesnake.

Where does a northern copperhead live?

In the north, the range of this species extends from Massachusetts and east to Illinois. In the west, these snakes are found in Georgia while in the south, they are found in Alabama.

Other common states include Washington D.C, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and southern Indiana. These pit vipers are also located in the Appalachian Mountain region and associated plateaus.

What is a northern copperhead's habitat?

The snake inhabits a wide range of habitats from terrestrial to semiaquatic. The northern copperhead snake generally dwells rocky, forested hillsides, and wetlands. The snake is also found in rotting wood, sawdust piles, construction sites, and occasionally suburban areas. It also climbs on trees or low bushes to find prey, basks in sun, and swims in the water.

Who do northern copperheads live with?

Very little is known about this snake's behavior, but they are said to be very quiet and lethargic. Like other species such as timber rattlesnake, the species is solitary and prefers to live alone. Adults generally come together during the breeding season.

How long does a northern copperhead live?

The average life expectancy rate of this species is around 18 years in the wild, while the lifespan in captivity is not known. Some of the copperhead species can easily live for around 29 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of these snakes generally occurs from April to May while a fall breeding season is said to occur in the month of September. These pit viper snakes generally reach sexual maturity at four years old when they are 2 ft (61 cm) long. Adults also perform multiple courtship displays after this period.

During the breeding season, males find sexually active females by using their tongues to detect pheromones in the air. Once a female is located, the male snake generally moves its head or rubs its chin on the ground.

Also, males sometimes release pheromones that make females unattractive to other males. After mating, the female snake shows no interest in the partner.

Females go through a gestation period of three to nine months and produce around 2-10 young snakes. Females are also known to produce young snakes without any involvement of male snakes through an asexual mode of reproduction known as parthenogenesis. The young snakes are around 0.59-0.82 ft (18-25 cm) long.

What is their conservation status?

 The International Union for Conservation of Nature has Not Evaluated the status of these venomous snakes. The species seems to be threatened due to several reasons such as loss of habitat, human persecution, accidents, and illegal hunting.

Also, the population within the range of New Jersey has severely declined over the last 50 years. Local governments have banned the killings of pit vipers and rattlesnakes in the local range.

The species is listed as a Species of Special Concern in New Jersey, but the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Advisory Committee recommended changing the status from Special Concern to Threatened.

Northern Copperhead Fun Facts

What do northern copperheads look like?

Northern copperhead snakes are primarily found in brown and reddish-tan colors. The head of the species is solid copper, while the cryptic coloration of the body helps this snake to blend with the environment.

The snake generally has weakly keeled dorsal scales and possesses only one anal plate. You can spot these snakes by looking at the hourglass-shaped patterns throughout the body.

A series of dark chestnut crossbands that are narrow in the center and wider on sides are also visible. Young snakes are generally paler in color but have yellow-tipped tails that are used to lure prey.

These rare northern copperhead facts will make you love them.* Please note that this is an image of a copperhead, not a northern copperhead. If you have an image of a northern copperhead please let us know at

How cute are they?

The term cute generally doesn't suit these snakes. These snakes are actually quite vicious and dangerous because of their venom. Even from a small age, young snakes start to prey and they even possess fangs. The predatory nature of this venomous snake makes it even scarier.

How do they communicate?

Like other snakes, norther copperhead snakes have an acute sense of smell. They generally use their tongue to detect partners, prey, or predators. Also, they have a Jacobson's organ located in the roof of their mouth that makes detecting things easier. Through the help of vibrations, they perceive their environment.

How big is a northern copperhead?

The average weight and length of this species are around 100-340 g (0.22-0.74 lb) and 24–36 in (61-91 cm), respectively. The maximum recorded length of this species is 4.42 ft (135 cm). These reptiles are twice the size of common garter snakes and smooth green snakes.

How fast can a northern copperhead move?

The exact speed of this species is not known but it is considered as an ambush predator. Using its fangs, this species kills small animals within seconds.

How much does a northern copperhead weigh?

This species weighs around 100-340 g (0.22-0.74 lb).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to male and female snakes. People generally refer to them as northern copperhead snakes. Other names such as the copperhead, resident copperhead, highland moccasin, beech-leaf snake, and chunk head can also be used.

What would you call a baby northern copperhead?

People generally use terms like neonates to refer to young snakes.

What do they eat?

These snakes are carnivores and generally prey on mice, small birds, lizards, small snakes, amphibians, and small mammals. They use their tail to attract their prey. They sometimes also eat insects. Species such as indigo snakes prey on these snakes.

Are they poisonous?

These snakes are quite dangerous as they possess hemolytic venom. Their venom mainly causes the breakdown of red blood cells, but the fatality rate from copperhead bites is low. Also, in New Jersey, no one has ever died from a copperhead bite.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these snakes are not considered good pets as they can be harmful to humans and it is also illegal to keep them as pets in several states of the United States. If you really want to keep snakes as pets, then species such as corn snakes, rosy boa, or ball python can be great options.

Did you know...

If a snake bites someone with its venom, it is important to immobilize the bite area and remove any tight clothing or accessories around the bitten area.

What time of day are copperheads most active?

During the spring and fall seasons, this species remains active during the daytime, while in summers, the species becomes nocturnal.

Do copperheads lay eggs or give birth to live ones?

These snakes generally use a sexual mode of production but females also produce babies without the involvement of male snakes. As these snakes are ovoviviparous, females give birth to around 2-10 live young snakes. The eggs develop inside the female snake.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our Texas horned lizard fun facts and monitor lizard Interesting facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable coiled snake coloring pages.

* Please note that the main image is of a copperhead, not a northern copperhead. If you have an image of a northern copperhead please let us know at

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Written by Abhishek Mishra

Bachelor of Arts specializing in History

Abhishek Mishra picture

Abhishek MishraBachelor of Arts specializing in History

As a content writer, Abhishek's passion for writing extends beyond professional content creation. With a Bachelor's degree in History from Ram Lal Anand College in Delhi, Abhishek is a skilled writer in both English and Hindi, bringing a creative flair to his work. He enjoys crafting satires and poetry and is dedicated to producing engaging and informative content.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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