Acquired: Wild caught / rehabilitation animal
Aiken, South Carolina, United States
Posted Apr 24, 2012
I've kept a Southern copperhead for a couple of years now and I love him! I've found the copperhead to be quite nervous when you work with them-tail rattling and striking at the hook is a norm. Mine rides the hook only marginally well and does not like tongs at all. Once in a tub though he does not try to escape or cause any other trouble. He readily musks along with the tail rattling and will attempt to get off the hook unless he's high off the ground. My male has been rather finicky about eating, refusing for months during the breeding season and will only eat smaller frozen/thawed items instead of one that is the appropriate size for his body size. After a few months of refusing I found that compromising by feeding 2 or 3 smaller items will get him to eat more regularly.
I keep my copperhead in a 36"L X 18"D X 14"H cage made of melamine with paper towel as substrate, several hides that I can lock him into for easier and safer cleaning and a large log for him to crawl over and around. I keep all venomous in locking cages for safety and my snake room is completely sealed to avoid any chance of escapes. Copperheads do not require much to do well. They are not high humidity animals or require special heating needs. I keep his cage warm with a heat pad regulated with a thermostat. I plan on switching his paper towel to coconut husk mixed with sphagnum moss in the future as I prefer the natural look and it's easier to clean. I recommend that you have hides that you can lock the animal in so as to minimize handling and the possibility of envenomation. Copperheads tend to have attitudes and will readily strike at an object (hands included) if given the opportunity. While the venom is not normally fatal, the bite is quite painful and there is always the risk of a person having sensitivity to it leading to anaphylactic reactions. I keep a full protocol list for a hospital's use so that physicians have correct treatment protocols. It also lists my full medical history so that doctors have a more accurate way of treating me. Owning venomous is a huge responsibility-both personal and that of the public. The mistake you make can lead to further legislation that can destroy the ability to keep and enjoy these amazing animals.