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Carnivorous, Camouflaged Copperheads

Oct 03, 2016

If copperheads are a fear factor for you, there is hope and help. Since they don’t look like other Missouri snakes, they are easy to identify and avoid.

Missouri’s copperheads are pinkish tan with dark-brown markings along their backs that are shaped like an hourglass or bow tie. This camouflage look helps them hide from prey in leaves along rocky hillsides and forest edges. They make excellent exterminators as their diet is mostly mice and voles.

Copperheads are active from April through November, and have young from August through early October. They are not aggressive and seldom strike unless provoked.

Keep copperheads away by getting rid of wood or rock piles and tall grass around your home. Wear boots when in woods or brushy fields, and leather gloves when moving rocks, old lumber and firewood.

Snake Safety

  • Contrary to popular belief, snakes do not go looking for people to bite. In fact, snakes are more afraid of you than you are of them.
  • It is never a good idea to pick up a copperhead and handle it.
  • Inspect foundations, doors, and low windows to make sure there are no openings where snakes might enter.
  • Harmless snakes have round pupils and a double row of scales along the undersides of their tails.
  • There is no one effective mean of eliminating snakes completely, but it is possible to discourage them around homes by the same method effective for controlling other animal pests — eliminating their food and shelter.

Find out more about copperheads with the MDC’s Field Guide.

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