The copperhead snake, Agkistrodon contortrix, is brown with an hour-glass shaped pattern. It is the most common venomous snake in North Carolina. NC Poison Control receives 10 times more calls about copperhead bites than all other snakes combined. The good news is that about half of copperhead snake bites result in only mild swelling and pain.
Typical adult length: 3 feet
Habitat: everywhere in North Carolina
Defenses used: camouflaging, vibrating the tail, releasing musk, biting.
Bite severity: The bite severity of the copperhead can be severe but generally not as bad as other NC snakes. Symptoms typically include significant pain and swelling to the bite area. Clotting disorders of the blood are possible with copperheads but are exceedingly rare compared to rattlesnake envenomations.
All suspected or confirmed copperhead bites should be taken seriously. Healthcare evaluation or a call to NC Poison Control is advised for all bites suspected to be from copperheads.
Call NC Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or chat from this site for snakebite treatment advice or for questions about the venomous snakes in our area.