A small snake, 2 to 3 feet long, with moderately thick body, broad and triangular head quite distinct from the neck, tail short, dark colored, and pointed. Color of back, a bronze hazel or light reddish brown; with 15 to 20 darker bands, which are narrow on the back and expand to wide blotches on the flanks, the shape oeing somewhat like that of a dumb-bell with very short handle. Head, a bright copper-red, with two small dark-brown spots close together on the forehead at upper part of head-shield, and with a cream-colored band around the mouth.
The copperhead inhabits the mountainous and hilly regions from Massachusetts southward to the Gulf, and westward (south of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska) to Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Its venom is as deadly as that of the rattlesnake, but it is not secreted in as large quantity as that of the larger rattlers; consequently the wound is not likely to be so serious. Still, the copperhead is a particularly dangerous creature, because it gives no-warning of its presence, nor, according to my observation, does it try to get out of the way, but holds its ground and springs at any intruder.
Only one species.