Maryland Snake Removal: Copperhead Identification

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June 9, 2015
Categories: Snake Removal

Among the 27 snake species inhabiting Maryland, there are only 2 that are venomous. And one of them you should be familiar with—the Northern Copperhead. When it comes to snake removal in Maryland, we do get plenty of calls about copperheads, as well as copperhead look-alikes. Copperhead bites, although not deadly, are rather unpleasant and may take a week or longer to heal. The best strategy is not to get bitten and get the dangerous snake removed from your property as soon as possible, which our techs will be happy to assist you with.

Basic Facts About the Northern Copperhead

Northern Copperhead

Length: about 24 to 36 inches
Color: copper-red or brownish but not too bright
Pattern: hourglass pattern with the narrow part of the hourglass falling on the middle of the back
Eyes: yellow with vertical pupils

 

 

Northern Copperheads mate in spring and sometimes in the fall. They typically birth their young from July through October. If you had just two copperheads on your property, by the end of summer you could have 7-10 if they find your conditions favorable. Copperheads are rather social and don’t mind denning or hibernating next to other snakes. They tend to return to their old hibernation sites, and they also have separate summer feeding grounds, so copperheads migrate between the two.

How to Avoid Getting Bitten by a Copperhead

Copperheads are not generally aggressive, but they will defend themselves if they feel threatened. Males can also be aggressive around the mating season in spring or fall. If you come across a copperhead, watch out for these signs, as it means the snake will attack if provoked:

  • Coiled body
  • Head at a 45-degree angle
  • Vibrating tail
  • Intimidating stare

If you see any snake in this pose, step away and call your local Maryland snake removal company right away.

Know Where to Expect a Copperhead

Most snake bites, including copperhead bites, happen when people stumble upon snakes by accident. Copperhead has a nice camouflage that makes it hard to pick out of vegetation, especially fallen leaves. And when the snake is not basking in the sun, it’s usually hunting or hiding in hard-to-reach areas.

Be especially careful when you:

  • Have to walk through tall grass
  • Do yard work
  • Go hiking in the woods
  • Work in or near thick brush or bushes
  • Disturb landscaping

In addition to the above, avoid walking outside barefoot.

What to Do if You’ve Been Bitten

You don’t always see the snake when or after the bite happens. It’s possible you’ve just stepped on it by accident. Don’t ignore the random pains you experience and be sure to take a look. What feels like a stubbed toe could actually be a snake bite. The affected area typically swells up right away, which is a sure sign of a venomous snake. If you get bitten, follow these steps:

  • Don’t attempt to suck the venom out
  • Wash the bite with soap and water if you can’t get medical help right away
  • Have someone take you to the emergency room
  • Don’t take any medications unless prescribed by a doctor

Copperhead bites are rarely fatal, but it doesn’t mean you should skip the trip to the hospital. Get your bite checked out by a doctor right away. If you’ve seen copperheads on your property before and want to ensure they won’t be posing risk to your outdoor activities this summer, get in touch with Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control.

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