Common Names: Northern copperhead, highland moccasin, resident copperhead, highland moccasin, beech-leaf snake, chunk head, copper (adder), copper-bell, copper belly, copperhead moccasin, copperhead viper, copper snake, copper viper, deaf adder, deaf snake, harlequin snake, hazel head, red adder, red eye, thunder snake, upland moccasin, white oak snake
A venomous pit viper subspecies found in the eastern United States. The northern copperhead grows to an average length of 61 to 91 cm, with a maximum of 135 cm. The dorsal scales are weakly keeled. The anal plate is single. The subcaudals are single, at least anteriorly. The color pattern consists of an hourglass pattern that runs the length of the body. From above, a series of dark chestnut crossbands look narrow in the center and wider on the sides. Between the crossbands, small dark spots are often present. There are dark rounded spots at the sides of the belly. The head is a copper-red color. Juvenile specimens are lighter in color, have a yellow tail tip, and a narrow dark line that runs through the eye that divides the darker head from the lighter colored labial scales.
These snakes are generally quiet, almost lethargic, preferring to lie motionless or to make a slow retreat when encountered. When sufficiently agitated, however, they can strike vigorously and may vibrate their tails rapidly. They are found in forests, often near rocky shores of lakes and ponds where food may be more abundant, as well as a variety of other habitats.