Venomous Snakes of
Florida

and Snakebite Treatment
By Greg (Snakeman) Longhurst
Photos By Bill Love

Southern Copperhead
Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix



 

     The Southern Copperhead is limited in the state of Florida to the panhandle region, and is not particularly common there, which means most residents of Florida will not encounter one unless they leave the state.
     A paler version of its counterpart to the north, this snake is tan with overtones of pink.  The pattern of dark bands with light centers are hour-glass shaped, but   the two halves of the hour-glass often miss each other at the spine.   Juveniles have a bright sulphur-yellow tail, which can be used as a caudal lure.   Waved about slowly, this tail is attractive to frogs, which are often surprised to become a meal instead of having one.
     The copperhead averages 2 to 3 feet in length, with a maximum of 52 inches.Copperhead Prey items include rodents, amphibians, and insects.   They are reputed to gorge on cicadas in the spring, as these insects are hatching out. Although a bite from one of these snakes should not be ignored, they have a particularly mild venom, and the bite should not prove fatal, with prompt, proper medical treatment.  The venom is so mild, that it may be the reason that folks in the Appalachian region of the eastern U.S. have so many strange snakebite remedies that they believe to be effective.   Some of these include kerosene, internally or externally, cow pies, etc.   Understand that in the case of a snakebite that is not going to cause any serious problems if left untreated, anything used as a treatment will be effective.