How to Determine Baby Copperheads

By Joshua Wade

A member of the genus Agkistrodon, copperheads are often confused with water moccasins, another species of snake that belongs to the same genus. Learning to identify a baby copperhead is essential for outdoor enthusiasts, as their bites have been known cause long-lasting injuries to adults and are often lethal in small children. While both are found throughout the southern and eastern United States and share similar colorings, copperheads have a few defining characteristics, including the triangular shape and copper color of their heads.

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Step 1

Inspect the head of the snake for a triangular shape, copper-red in color. This color is similar to the color of a penny and is distinct to the copperhead.

Step 2

Inspect the body of the snake. While the copperhead will vary in color depending on the region, its markings are similar to hourglass-shaped bands that span the entire length of the snake, typically darker in color on the outside and brighter in color on the inside.

Step 3

Inspect the sides of the snake's head. As copperheads are pit vipers, they will have a heat-sensing "pit" located between the nostril and the eye on both sides of the head.

Step 4

Inspect the tail of the snake. A baby copperhead has a distinctive bright-yellow tip at the end of its tail, up to 1 inch long.