Agkistrodon contortrix

Agkistrodon contortrix, commonly known as the Copperhead, is a venomous pit viper species found in North America. Here is a care sheet for keeping a Copperhead as a pet:

  1. Housing: A secure and escape-proof enclosure is necessary for housing a Copperhead. The enclosure should be at least 36x18x18 inches in size for an adult snake. You can use a terrarium or a custom-built enclosure made of glass, plastic, or wood. It should have a secure locking mechanism and be well-ventilated. Provide a hiding spot for the snake, such as a hollow log or a reptile cave.

  2. Temperature: Copperheads are cold-blooded animals, and they require a temperature gradient in their enclosure. The basking spot should be around 85-90°F, and the cooler side of the enclosure should be around 75-80°F. Use a heat lamp or an under-tank heating pad to maintain the temperature.

  3. Lighting: Copperheads do not require special lighting, but they do benefit from a 12-hour light-dark cycle. You can use a regular fluorescent bulb for this purpose.

  4. Substrate: Provide a substrate that retains moisture, such as cypress mulch or coconut coir. Avoid using substrates like sand or gravel, which can cause impaction if ingested.

  5. Feeding: Copperheads are carnivores and feed on rodents, lizards, and other small animals. Feed them appropriately sized prey, about the same size as the snake’s thickest part of the body. You can feed them every 5-7 days. Always use tongs or forceps to avoid getting bitten.

  6. Water: Provide a shallow water dish for the snake to drink from and soak in. Change the water regularly.

  7. Handling: Copperheads are venomous and should be handled with extreme caution. Always wear thick gloves when handling them, and avoid handling them unnecessarily.

  8. Health: Keep an eye on the snake’s behavior and appearance. If you notice any signs of illness or injury, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or abnormal shedding, take the snake to a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.

  9. Legal considerations: It is illegal to keep Copperheads as pets in some states. Make sure to check the laws in your area before getting one as a pet.

Overall, keeping a Copperhead as a pet requires experience and caution. If you are new to reptile keeping, it is best to start with a non-venomous species.