Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen
Northern Copperhead

Johnson Co., Illinois. May 2nd, 1998

The mokasen found down in southern Illinois are probably a blend of the Southern and Northern copperhead gene pool; often it is difficult to be distinctive where two subspecies meet.  Whatever they may be, I simply refer to them as Copperheads.  Most of those from this area show the dark spots on the light between crossbands, typical of the Northern, and even so some show the more pinched or even broken crossbands of the Southern form.  Ah, well. They are all beautiful to look at!

The one in the top photo was found near Heron Pond, under a large flat rock at the base of a bluff, which is very typical habitat for Copperheads.

The snake in the second photo was found crossing a road near the LaRue-Pine Hills Ecological Area.

A fatal bite from a Copperhead is rare, but I am told by people who have been bitten that it is an excruciatingly painful experience. They rarely offer to bite, preferring to remain still and trust that their markings offer sufficient camouflage for concealment. There is no telling how many Copperheads I (or you) have walked by!








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