27 Şubat 2013 Çarşamba

Kentucky State Reptile

Kentucky State Reptile

Copperhead Rattlesnake (common name)
Agkistrodon contortrix 
(scientific name)
Status: unofficial

Overview

The copperhead is a common venomous snake, part of the Crotalinae or pit viper subfamily, found in a number of U.S. states and Mexico. Although this snake’s bite can be poisonous, it rarely causes death in adult humans. Bites can be extremely painful, though, and must have immediate medical attention. Like all pit vipers, the copperhead can use a dry or venom-free bite when it chooses.
ALSO KNOWN AS
American copperhead, chunk head, death adder, highland moccasin, moccasin, narrow-banded copperhead, pilot snake, poplar leaf, red oak, red snake, southern copperhead, southeastern copperhead, white oak snake.

Close-Up

STATUS
Unofficial
PHYSICAL DETAILS
A copperhead is fairly bulky for a snake, with a wide head that extends forward beyond its mouth and a snout that slopes down. Its background color is usually tan, though the exact shade may have a rosy tint or be nearly brown. It has a darker brown stripe down the middle of its back, crossed by 10 to 18 bands or half-bands. There may be some white or gray shading on a copperhead’s belly and the tail. The copperhead has a pair of small, dark spots in the middle of its head. Young snakes have a yellow tail tip. Males are usually a little larger than females.
  MalesFemales
Sizeaverage length 22–37 in (56–94 cm). Maximum over 50 in (127 cm)average length 20–35 in (51–89 cm)
Weight  
LIFESPAN
Up to 30 years.
HABITAT
Varied, including mixed or deciduous woodlands, low-lying swampy areas, rocky areas, coastal coniferous forests, and, in its southernmost range, near streams.
Range: U.S. east coast from Massachusetts south to Florida, west to Oklahoma and south into Mexico.
Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC). Copperheads are common throughout most of their range, but are becoming rare in some places along the edge of that range. They have no national conservation status, but are protected in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Iowa.
BEHAVIOR
A copperhead snake is usually active at night in summer or very hot weather, but is more likely to be seen in the daytime in spring and autumn. It hunts by lying in wait in a place where prey may venture, ambushing its meals. The copperhead’s venomous bite leaves prey immobile, so the snake can swallow its meals whole. A copperhead generally avoids people if possible, but will not retreat when it senses a person approaching. Instead, it stays still and bites if there is contact. The copperhead’s colors camouflage it well, especially when it hides in or on dried leaves.
Copperheads are normally solitary except in breeding season and when hibernating. These snakes mate in springtime, but females do not necessarily mate every year. Males, on the other hand, may travel quite far to find a mate. Females bear live snakes near the end of summer. A litter can number up to 20 young snakes, though most are less than half that size. More than 95 percent of copperheads live for less than eight years. In winter, copperheads hibernate in dens with other copperheads as well as other snakes such as rat snakes or rattlesnakes.
DIET
Rodents (including voles and mice), frogs, lizards, other snakes, and large insects.
OFFSPRING
Breeding interval: Annual
Birthing period: August-September
Average litter size: 4-7
Size at birth: 7–8 in (17.75–20.5 cm)
TRIVIA
  • Copperheads can climb trees, which they usually do to eat young cicadas.
  • A young copperhead has a bright yellow-tipped tail that it wiggles to attract prey such as worms and lizards.
  • Copperhead snakes consume about twice their own weight in food each year.

Click to enlarge an image
State Reptile
Coiled Copperhead
State Reptile
Copperhead Hidden in Leaves
State Reptile
Close-up of Copperhead

CLASSIFICATION
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata
Suborder:Serpentes
Family:Viperidae
Subfamily:Crotalinae
Genus:Agkistrodon
Species:A. contortrix
Raw Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press

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