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Thread: copperhead?

  1. #1
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    Idea! copperhead?

    Hi All,
    Was walking along Shavers Fork next to the High Falls yesterday and almost stepped on this critter.
    I'm not an expert but I think it's a copperhead.
    Can I get a second opinion?
    And when I say "almost stepped on" I mean I was a split second away from planting my foot right on top of him.

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  2. #2
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    The Copperheads I've seen have bands of alternating brown and light brown coloring. Whenever I'm hiking over loose rock I'm on the lookout for them since that's where they tend to be.

  3. #3
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    The pattern on that specimen doesn't really look "right" but its really faint (possibly ready to shed?) so who knows. The shape of the head is hard to discern from the pic as well. Can't tell if there's a pit in between the eyes or not. Copperheads have a distinctly spade shaped head. Did you notice any scent of cucumbers?

    I am however, certain that is indeed, a snake.

    I know, big help. \
    "Sufficient to have stood, yet free to fall."
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  4. #4
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    Didn't notice any cucumber smell but the High Falls were throwing out a lot of spray that could have over powered it.
    The markings don't show up well in the photo but they were very faint in real life.
    Like I said I'm not an expert but I thought it might be a copperhead because of the flat and triangular shaped head.

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  5. #5
    the unvarnished nonsense
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    That detail shows more of the banding, and along with the head shape I'd say it probably was a copperhead. Could have been near molting time, or just a darker specimen. If you would have stepped on it, we'd probably know for sure. Something to keep in mind for next time.
    "Sufficient to have stood, yet free to fall."
    -John Milton, Paradise Lost

  6. #6
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    Question, exactlky how much of a zoom lens were you using for the original picture? For me it would have to be one like you see at the shuttle launches. Frank, if you live near Elkins we should ride together sometime.
    Can you hook that up to your car?.......

  7. #7
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    Yeah thats one. Like davis said, its close to shedding its skin. Itz hazed over eyes are a clear sign it is getting ready to shed....or its hazed over eyes means it just got back from the Slatyfork Shuffle!!
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    I better go get my headlamp while I'm sober....ish

  8. #8
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    Here's what he looked like without the zoom.
    I should have known better but I was picking my way through the rocks, moving from the right, thinking more about where would be the best place to stand to take a picture of the falls than where I was stepping. I was just bringing my foot down on top of the snake when I saw it and at the last second moved my foot to the rock at the bottom of the picture. This rock was higher than the one he was sunning on so I felt safe enough to snap a few shoots before moving away.

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  9. #9
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    A little off topic… I think it is because of all the rain we have had but this year I have seen more snakes than I have ever seen before! I am thinking all the water is chasing them out of their holes???

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    Man if that were me I think there would have been another wet spot on that rock. I HATE snakes

  11. #11
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    Where you come from you dont know copperhead? Haha, yeah thats probaly one. back on the farside of the merrymans loop one day.

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    about a month ago my wife almost step over on in Billy Goat trail (Great Falls, MD side); and a couple of weeks ago I almost rode over one in Fairfax CCT (between hwy 7 and the toll rd)...

  13. #13
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    pisco, where on the CCT were you? Before or after Brown's Mill road? I got bit by one of these about 7 years ago near Front Royal and I don't want to do that again. PS - the Front Royal hospital isn't a place you want to go if you need help with snake bites.

  14. #14
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    I am thinking it is a Northern Water Snake but I am not a herpetologist

  15. #15
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    I'm pretty sure it's some variety of water snake. Copperheads have a different pattern even considering the fading.

  16. #16
    You serious Clark?
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    Copperhead for sure. Its about to shed. Diamond head, w/o a doubt. Large pronounced scales too. Rattlers have them also.
    Just seen one on the greenbrier trail recently.

  17. #17
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    Yeah...copperhead indeed.


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    Northern Water Snake would be my guess too. Especially since it was seen near water. It's hard to tell from the photo if the eyes have pupils that are round, or vertical ellipses. They look round to me.

    I'm not a herpetologist either.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gravy
    I am thinking it is a Northern Water Snake but I am not a herpetologist

  19. #19
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    Easy ID

    According to this site all you have to do to identify a copperhead is pick it up and check its anal plate.

    Anal exams aside the above page has some good info on copperheads and cottonmouths.

  20. #20
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    [SIZE="4"]Northern Water Snake[/SIZE]
    nwater.jpg

    [SIZE="4"]Copperhead[/SIZE]
    copperhead1.jpg

  21. #21
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    Wow! That's a cool site.

    I've been fascinated by snakes ever since I got my "All about Snakes" book at the grocery store when I was about 6 yo. I grew up in suburban Delaware and actively looked for snakes, frogs, lizards and salamanders ever since I was a kid.

    Rumor was, that there were Copperheads not far from where I lived, but never documented. Delaware was known as a state with no poisonous reptiles. I saw very few snakes, of any kind, growing up. There were frogs and salamanders in the tamed creeks where I lived, so there probably were snakes. I just didn't know where to look.

    30 years later, the Copperhead rumor turned out to be true, with a population living among the rocks in Alapocas Woods above the Brandywine, and confirmed.

    Now I live a stones throw from Delaware and see snakes all the time. Mostly Northern Water Snakes, Garter Snakes, Milk Snakes, Corn Snakes and Black Snakes. Sometimes in my house! I don't mind, they don't cause me any problems and are taking care of the field mice that do cause me problems during population explosions. But I've yet to see a venomous snake alive in the wild. I've encountered dead Timber Rattlers in PA before, and heard rattles in South Dakota but couldn't see the responsible snake in the grass.

    Honestly, snakes in captivity are a lot more dangerous. A guy in my entomology class in college died at the "hands" of a snake he kept in his bedroom. He had also been bitten before and hospitalized. They found him days after with several snakes loose in his appartment! He used to brag about the snakes he kept in containers under his bed. What kind of life is that for a snake? Another Newark resident died after he was bitten by his monitor lizard, who continued to feed on him until they discovered his body.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is - LEAVE THEM ALONE! They belong there. There is no reason to own them. Let them do what they do.

    Sorry for the rant.


    Quote Originally Posted by Trizz
    According to this site all you have to do to identify a copperhead is pick it up and check its anal plate.

    Anal exams aside the above page has some good info on copperheads and cottonmouths.

  22. #22
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    In regards to the snake's anal plate. While originally looking at the snake, even though I was standing next to a river with rapids in the middle of nowhere, never once did I think:

    "Come on little snakey. I bet you can SQUEAL LIKE A PIG!!!"


    On the above picture of the Northern Water Snake, the scale pattern on the top of the head does look just like the snake I saw.
    Last edited by FrankNbike; 07-03-2009 at 06:18 PM.
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