Copperheads are venomous snakes of the pit viper family, and are commonly found throughout the eastern United States and into eastern Mexico. In many areas, copperheads are the most common venomous species of snake. Thus, it is not uncommon for people to come into contact with them. Though they are both common and venomous, human fatalities from copperhead bites are extremely rare. Most copperhead bites occur when the snakes are being harassed in some way. But they can become a hazard around homes and gardens, and removal and exclusion is recommended.
Things You'll Need
- Caulking gun
- 2 burlap bags
- Hightop boots
- Thick gloves
- Plastic bucket
- Long heavy stick or garden hoe
Remove debris from around your home or garden. This includes rock piles, brush piles and tall grass, essentially anything that may provide shelter to copperheads and their rodent prey.
Store firewood and lumber away from the home, and keep it elevated at least 18 inches from the ground.
Reduce the rodent population around your home by keeping garbage covered and by feeding pets indoors, or cleaning up outdoor pets' food immediately after feeding.
Check for any openings or cracks in your home's foundation, walls, floors or chimneys, and use a caulking gun to tightly seal these potential entrance points. In cases of larger openings, cover with a sheet of hardware cloth.
Trap copperheads by leaving rumpled, damp burlap bags where the snakes have been spotted. Snakes will be attracted to the cool, dark, damp hiding place. Wear heavy gloves and thick hightop boots when checking for snakes in the trap. If you find a copperhead, use a broom to sweep the entire trap into a plastic bucket, and release the snake away from your home or take it to animal control.
Kill copperheads only as a last resort, striking one with a long stick, rod or garden hoe. Never attempt to kill a copperhead with any instrument that places you near it, and never pick up a copperhead if it may still be barely alive, as it may still potentially bite.
Tips & Warnings
- If you do not feel comfortable removing a copperhead by yourself, isolate the snake in a small area and call animal control.
- As of 2009, there were no legal methods of chemical control for copperheads.
- Always exercise extreme caution around copperheads, as the temperament of individual snakes can vary.
- Never attempt to handle or touch a copperhead.
- If you are bitten, do not panic, and see a doctor immediately.
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