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copperhead,poisonous snake, Ancistrodon contortrix, of the E United States. Like its close relative, the water moccasin, the copperhead is a member of the pit viperpit viper,
poisonous snake of the family Crotalidae, primarily a New World family. Like the Old World true vipers (family Viperidae), pit vipers have long, hollow, erectile fangs that are folded back against the roof of the mouth except when the snake is striking.
..... Click the link for more information. family and detects its warm-blooded prey by means of a heat-sensitive organ behind the nostril. The body, which may reach a length of 4 ft (120 cm), is hazel brown with chestnut-colored crossbands above and pinkish white with dark spots below. The head is a pale copper color. Copperheads inhabit rocky areas with thick underbrush, even in heavily populated regions. They feed chiefly on small mammals, but will also capture large insects, frogs, and other snakes. They are most active in late afternoon and early evening. The young are born alive. Copperheads are not aggressive and usually attempt escape when threatened, but they strike swiftly if startled or attacked. The bite causes severe pain and illness in humans but is seldom fatal. Copperheads are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Crotalidae.
(Ancistrodon contortrix), a poisonous snake with a body measuring up to 120 cm. The upper part of the body is yellowish brown with red-brown crossbands. The top of the head is copper red (hence the name). The copperhead is found in eastern and southeastern states of the USA. It inhabits sparse forests, meadows, and rocky slopes; it also lives in orchards and among crops. The snake feeds on small rodents, birds, frogs, and insects. It is viviparous, with the female giving birth to five or six young. The copperhead is very active and aggressive; humans and domestic animals are bitten by it quite frequently. Its bite is painful to man but not dangerous.