Posted Sep 16, 2013
After owning snakes for 5 years, and joining the Hot Herp Society, I decided I was ready for my first venomous reptile. I found a southern copperhead online for sale, and in the pictures, the owner was free handling the snake. He said it was extremely tame, although he didn’t recommend that just anyone hold it. I had no intention of holding it. I just wanted one to observe from a controlled environment.
My husband made a special terrarium lid (complete with lock), to prevent any escapes. After the cage was finished, we headed to North Georgia to pick up the snake. The seller also gave me a water snake to practice using a snake hook on (though I had caught plenty of wild snakes with a snake hook), because water snakes are aggressive, and they are a good way to learn how to hook venomous snakes.
We got our copperhead home and put him in his new home. He was never aggressive, and went straight for his hide box. Over the next year, that’s where he spent the majority of his time. He would come out at night for water, or when he was being fed (live white mice). Out of all the snakes we had at the time, our copperhead was the least aggressive, which I found ironic, considering the reputation of the pit viper.
I’m not sure how old he was when we got him, but the copperhead lived a full year with us before he died. He always ate regularly and never showed any physical signs of being unhealthy, so perhaps he was just old.
I don’t recommend a venomous snake as a pet, and I wouldn’t have one again myself (I have kids now), but I have to say that our experience with our copperhead was a good one.