Florida's Snakes thumbnail photo of snake identification guide cover

(Agkistrodon contortrix)


Venomous snakebites are rare and can usually be avoided; however, knowing how to respond correctly to venomous snakebites is also important. Learn more...

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photo of copperhead showing reddish, hourglass-shaped bands

close up photo of copperhead head showing faint eyestripe

 Photos by Dr. Steve A. Johnson (UF). These photos may not be used without the express written permission of the photographer


Usually 2.5–3 ft. (max. ~4.5 ft.)


Thick body is grayish-beige or pinkish and marked with broad, reddish crossbands. Crossbands are hourglass-shaped and are narrowest at the spine. Faint, reddish-brown bands may run from the eyes to the corners of the jaw. Scales have lengthwise ridges (keels). Very young Cottonmouths are often misidentified as Copperheads. However, Copperheads have a very limited range in Florida, so be sure to check the range map for help with identification. This snake gives birth to live young (does not lay eggs).


Found only in northern Florida in the Apalachicola River Basin in shady hardwood forests with abundant leaf litter and fallen branches and logs.


Large insects, frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes, lizards, birds, shrews, moles, mice, rats

map showing copperheads are only found in a small area of the panhandle

Map by Monica E. McGarrity - may be used freely for education.

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