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.
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Copperhead (pop culture)
In The Brave and the Bold #78 (1968), a Batman/ Wonder Woman/Batgirl team-up by Bob Haney and Bob Brown, the Caped Crusader was first perplexed by Copperhead, a contortionist/burglar (whose real name is never disclosed) wearing a snake-skin uniform enabling him to slither through narrow passages. When confronted in his gruesome grotto, Copperhead's “poison mist” is potent enough to render Wonder Woman unconscious, while his headpiece's snake-fangs pack a near-fatal bite for Batman. Batman resolutely expends his “last bit of strength” to clobber Copperhead, while forethoughtful Batgirl saves the hero's life with an anti-venom serum tucked away in her purse. Copperhead might have permanently crawled under a rock after this villain-of-the-month outing had writer/editor Gerry Conway not tossed him into the pages of Secret Society of Super-Villains in 1976. The perfidious rogue was not to be trusted—as if honesty was ever a virtue among this criminal viper pit—and he even snitched on his allies to prison guards to save his own skin. After Secret Society's 1978 cancellation, Copperhead rarely struck until the 1990s, when he returned in various DC Comics titles (Hawk and Dove, Superboy, etc.) as an assassin-for-hire. He brokered a deal with the demon Neron in 1995's Underworld Unleashed, becoming a genuine serpent-man with a venomous touch. Actor Jose Yenque's spine-chilling voice made Copperhead a popular foe on the Cartoon Network's Justice League (2001–2004), hatching the villain's 2004 toy debut as a Justice League figurine distributed at Jack in the Box.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
(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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Agkistrodon contortrix. A pit viper of the eastern United States; grows to about 3 feet (90 centimeters) in length and is distinguished by its coppery-brown skin with dark transverse blotches.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
deadly pit viper in eastern U.S. [Zoology: NCE, 652]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
1. a venomous reddish-brown snake, Agkistrodon contortrix, of the eastern US: family Crotalidae (pit vipers)
2. a venomous reddish-brown Australian elapid snake, Denisonia superba
3. US History a Yankee supporter of the South during the Civil War
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005