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Where Is the Copperhead Found in Maryland?

By Norma Roche

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Northern copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen) are 4 to 36 inches long, with copper, tan and brown hourglass-shaped markings that create the perfect camouflage as the snakes hide beneath the leaf litter. Northern copperheads occur throughout Maryland, and they are one of the state's two venomous species. There is also an intergrade between northern and southern copperheads (Agkistrodon c. contortrix X mokasen) in Maryland. They are only found on the lower eastern and western shores on the Coastal Plain.

Copperhead Habitat and Locations

In Maryland, copperheads can be found in a variety of habitats, from coastal areas, marshes and swamps, to wooded slopes, forests, agricultural fields next to forest, sandy ridges near swamps and ravines. On the Coastal Plain they are relatively uncommon, but are fairly abundant in the forested, rocky outcrops of central and western Maryland. Copperheads love terrain with rocky outcroppings. In the hottest months of summer they hide under the rocks or in fallen logs during the day, coming out to hunt at night when it's cooler. During the winter they brumate -- this is like hibernation, but as a result of different metabolic processes, the snakes are capable of occasional activity such as drinking between sleep. They will overwinter in communal, underground dens on rocky hillsides, with different species such as Maryland's other venomous snake, timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus homdus).

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