Copperhead sightings rise as temps fall

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 11:06 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - In the heat of Texoma, people in the area can spot more slithering copperhead snakes, especially lurking in brush debris and wooded areas.

Copperhead snakes are pit vipers, which can be dangerous to humans if they feel threatened.

“We’re predators to them, so they get very defensive,” herpetologist Amethyst Rooney said. “A lot of bites happen because people don’t see them. It will cause swelling and tissue damage.”

As fall season sticks around, the copperhead birthing season is in full effect. With this in mind, along with dry weather, these scaly creatures seem to be appearing more than usual.

During the week, a fourteen year old boy was hospitalized after camping in a wooded area in Grayson county. According to officials, the boy grabbed something he mistook as a rope. To his surprise, the object was not a rope, but a copperhead. As a response, the copperhead bit the boy, swelling his hand.

Experts said the exchange was no shock to them, considering copperheads can be challenging to find.

“Copperheads can camouflage pretty easily in areas like leaves, sticks, and other parts of nature,” snake educator Jordan Foster said. “Copperheads are usually laid back when left alone. But when they feel backed up into a corner or grabbed, they will do what they can to protect themselves.”

Experts said these snakes often attempt to blend in, and can show themselves with little to no warning other than the sound of rustling. However, experts claimed there is still a way to identify copperheads.

“They’re usually a brown or a reddish-orange color, and they’ll have triangles on the sides,” Rooney explained. “They have a solid-colored head.”

Experts went on to say copperheads are not as aggressive compared to other venomous snakes, and their bites are rarely deadly to humans. Still, a copperhead’s bite should be taken seriously and avoided at all costs.

Foster said, “If you see a snake and you stay away from it, it’s not going to be in any sort of danger. You’re not going to be in any danger. So, the best thing to do if you see a snake is to step back away from it and keep an eye on it.”

Rooney added, “We tell people to wear close-toed shoes and use flashlights at night because it’s a big problem. [Copperheads] are active at night.”

Experts advised those who are bitten by a copperhead to remain calm and seek medical attention immediately.