I found this little guy yesterday under a pile of limbs that I had removed the day before from the Bradford pear trees near my garden. The cornfield near the garden had been mowed and plowed the same day and I think he came from the field seeking shelter. After I loaded (by hand) all the limbs onto our truck I began raking the leaves and he scooted out! He remained frozen with his head up while I called DH to come with the snake identification book and a shovel. My DH and I hate to randomly kill snakes because we live on a farm and appreciate all the help we can get from our friendly snakes in dealing with the mice that come with the territory, but after checking our snake book we decided that this one had to go (since we have a 5 year old grandson who lives with us). We identified it as a copperhead. Does anyone have expertise in snake identification? We are never sure whether the real thing matches the pictures in the book and would appreciate knowing whether we dispatched a potentially benign mouser or a potential danger to our grandson. By the way, you might notice that the head, with about 4 inches of the snake's body has been severed from the body. The head kept moving and trying to strike until DH totally dispatched it...
Thanks for your response, Entlie, and for the website. I checked it out, but their suggestion was for either a corn snake or for a black snake. Maybe my ability to describe it was misleading...I really think it was a poisonous snake and am quite certain it wasn't a corn snake or a black snake.
I agree with Entlie, corn and black snakes have round heads, not pointy like the one in your picture. Looks venomous to me. You might be able to zoom in on the picture on your computer and see if the eyes are slits rather than round.
I agree, this was most likely a copperhead. I wish you hadn't killed it. Snakes are beneficial in the environment. A better approach would have been to have it removed to a place where it would have been out of danger of humans!
Thanks to all of you who have confirmed our thinking. Honeybee, we share your reluctance to randomly kill snakes and that's why we wanted additional input from others who might be better at identifying than we are. We now feel fairly sure that we did what we had to do. We live in a rural area and there aren't any professional snake handlers around who would have been able to safely remove the little guy. Our little grandson had to take preference over the copperhead.
You may remember the story of the little boy from Moncks Corner who was hospitalized for many MONTHS after being bitten by a copperhead. It happened about this time last year. You were correct to be better safe than sorry especially where a small child is concerned.
you never said whether this one was a baby or an adult but just so you know, when you see one during the hot months, there is always another one close by. this may be one of those old wive's tales to some people but i know firsthand that it is true. growing up in copperhead country (missouri near a river with rock bluffs), we had to dispatch many a copperhead and the mate always showed itself within a day or two.
we encouraged black and king snakes and whenever we would see one of those in the barn, my mom always said we were safe for a while and didn't have to worry as much about seeing a copperhead.
yeah, i don't particularly care for talk about snake killing either but it's not like any of us go around looking for one to kill. i will kill a venomous snake if it around my house, yard or kennel.