University of Missouri Extension

G9450, Revised June 2003

Snakes: Information for Missouri Homeowners

Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)

Poisonous snakes of Missouri

Copperheads are the most abundant poisonous snake found in Missouri. They prefer to live on rocky hillsides and along forest edges. Copperheads also can be found along wooded stream borders, old fields and meadows, where they search for rodents. They normally are active from April to November. Two subspecies are found in Missouri. The Osage copperhead is found in the northern two-thirds of the state, and the southern copperhead is found in the southern third of the state

Young copperheads have a sulfur-yellow tail. The snake loses this color as it matures. The young are born in August or September, with two to 10 in a litter. Although copperheads are not usually aggressive, they cause most of the poisonous snake bites in Missouri. Their bites are not normally fatal to adults. Elderly people, those in poor health or small children are in more danger from copperhead bites.

CopperheadOsage copperhead photo by Tom R. Johnson, herpetologist, Missouri Department of Conservation.


Wild thing

G9450 Snakes: Information for Missouri Homeowners | University of Missouri Extension

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