Length 24-36 in. (61-91 cm.)
|Copperheads are widely scattered throughout Virginia. Although
they occupy a variety of habitats from floodplains to ridge
tops, they show a marked preference for the rocky, wooded hillsides
of the piedmont and mountains. They are not as averse to civilization as
the timber rattler, but copperheads tend to stay away from well settled
areas. They eat small rodents, birds, lizards, snakes, amphibians, and
Their coloration not only acts as excellent camouflage, but also makes them one of Virginia's most beautifu reptiles. They derive their name from the copper-like coloring of the head.When encountered, copperheads are usually content to lie motionless, or retreat if given the chance. But if aroused, they will vibrate their tail rapidly and strike wildly, much like their more aggressive relative the cottonmouth water moccasin.
Except in early spring and late fall, most of their day is spent in hiding. They hunt small mammals, birds, and amphibians by night. One of the best ways to see copperheads is to go for a drive at night, especially after a warm rain has broken a long hot, dry spell. Copperheads enjoy lying on wet, steaming roads.