Copperheads are known to bite annually around 3,000 people in the United States. While we know for sure that adult copperhead snakes are poisonous, how about baby copperhead snakes. Are they as they poisonous as well?
Are Baby Copperheads Poisonous
Copperhead Babies are poisonous, but an adult copperhead is more poisonous and dangerous than a youngster. Baby bites can be painful, but do not endanger human lives.
Dry bites are also possible – which means no venom is released and injected. A copperhead’s defense bite is different than a prey-seeking bite, because to snakes it is more important to SAVE ENERGY and VENOM for KILLING THEIR PREY.
If threatened, copperhead babies strike almost instantly. Babies usually bite after a physical contact [if approached, stepped on, grabbed or picked up].
A baby copperhead is born with fangs and venom. An adult copperhead snake injects more venom than a baby snake. Baby copperhead’s fangs are smaller [1.2 to 7.2 mm in length] and inject smaller amounts of venom [the smaller the snake, the smaller the fangs and venom quantity].
A popular myth is that baby snakes cannot control their venom thus being more dangerous. It is actually not true; baby snakes are born perfectly capable of controlling their venom, it’s just that offsprings have less venom.
Copperheads are most common venomous carnivore snake species in America. They produce cytotoxic venom, which harms the tissues. Adults measure between 2 to 4 feet in length, while youngsters are between 8 to 10 inches long.
Offsprings will usually eat birds, insects, caterpillars, small rodents, small frogs and lizards. They remain still and move their greenish tails luring small preys with these movements. After biting and injecting the venomous poison, the prey is swallowed whole.
Copperhead snakes are found in Eastern North and Central America [Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas and Florida states are home to copperhead species].
What Time Of The Year Are Baby Copperheads Born
Baby Copperhead season starts late August to early-October [depending on region], meaning that babies are usually born in fall.
In US there are three types of pit vipers giving birth to live babies. Copperheads are one of them along with Rattlesnakes and Water Moccasins.
Babies are born in an encased embryonic sac. When ready, they push the membrane with their nose and open the sack, taking the first breath of air.
Copperheads can give birth from 5 to 20 baby snakes, but most of them will not survive to reach adulthood. Babies weight less than an ounce and measure 7-10 inches length at birth.
How To Recognize And Identify Baby Copperhead Snakes
The tiny copperheads can be recognized by their specific patterns and colored tails. These little snakes resemble a lot to copperhead adults. There are subtle differences between offsprings and adults, but to the untrained eye, they will look similar.
- Distinctive Patterns – Baby copperheads have darker hourglass patterns. Seen for the side, some people associate these dark patterns to a Hershey’s Kiss.
- Colored Tail -Tail coloring from bright yellow to lime green [resembling a fishing lure].
- Effective Camouflage – Baby copperheads are able to camouflage themselves blending in perfectly in the autumn environment with their “earthy coloring” such as light brown, reddish or dark gray.
- Venomous Snake Pupils – Offspring have yellow eyes with black vertical pupils [very similar to a cat’s eyes] typical to venomous snake species.
- Small sizes – Baby copperheads are tiny and thin for the first few months and measure 7-10 inches in length.
What Snake Looks Like A Baby Copperhead
Baby Copperheads can easily be confused with the following snake species.
- Northern Black Racer Snakes
- Northern Water Snakes
- Mole Kingssnakes
- Eastern Hognose Snakes
Even though these species display similar colors and patterns on their skin [blotched patterns] that may be easily mistaken with the hourglass pattern of the copperhead, THEY DO NOT HAVE THE YELLOW OR GREEN COLORED TAILS OF THE COPPERHEAD BABIES.
What To Do If You Find A Baby Copperhead In Your Yard
- First and foremost do not panic, leave the venomous snake alone.
- Do not try to harm, remove or provoke the snake. Even if you dislike snakes, there is no reason to kill them and damage the ecosystem.
- Instead, evacuate the area. Gather everybody indoors. Stay safe going directly in your house.
- Call the animal control service, local police or fire department. Follow their instructions [depending on your area] and let professionals handle this situation.
- If you are a lionhearted, use a hook to handle and remove the snake.
Copperhead babies are likely to be found near woody areas, piles of leaves, under rocks or in tall grass. They can also be around garages, along the exterior walls of houses, in yards, gardens or lawns.
In case you spot several snakes, most probably it means that you have a snake food source on your property [rodents, insects, larvae, amphibians, pest infestation etc.]. Take measures and address this issue to a pest inspection service.
Be aware that snakes are critical factors in pest population control. They are important to the food chain and help maintain a healthy environment and a balanced ecosystem.
Recommendation, Safety and Conclusion
Copperhead babies are tiny venomous vipers born during fall season.
A copperhead baby bite is not life-threating, but it is recommended to get care in a medical facility in case of an attack. Emergency assistance is really important since snakes may carry a lot of diseases.
Remaining calm and controlling your breath is critical. It is best to clean the wound and immobilize the affected area after the snake bite occurred [apply a pressure-immobilization bandage over the bite area to keep venom from spreading into the body].
Most reported bites require care and observation only [no antivenin or intervention for copperhead bites], but allergic reactions and infections are not excluded. That is why experts recommend to always acting towards a snake bite as if it’s venomous.
If you live in a copperhead region, be aware and careful in autumn when copperhead population increases and becomes more active.
Whether you can identify this specie or not, no one wants to get bitten accidentally by a snake.
Remember that copperheads are part of the Creation and their existence benefits the environment as well as our lives. They may have earned an evil reputation from biblical history, but it is our responsibility to respect life and every being on earth.