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Scientific name: Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus


The average size of a mature Broad-Banded Copperhead is 2 - 3 feet in length. It is one of the smaller Copperhead subspecies.


The Copperhead gets it name from the copper-red color of the top of its head, similar to the color of a penny. The body of the Broad-Banded Copperhead is generally a light tan to reddish-tan, with dark brown to reddish-brown bands. These bands are wider than the light space between them, hence the name. The bands also are not thinner across the spine as they are in other Copperhead subspecies.

Young Broad-Banded Copperheads are patterned like mature Broad-Banded Copperheads, but are often grayer in color, and the tip of the tail on young Broad-Banded Copperheads is yellow. The yellow tail is used to attract food. It is wiggled in a motion imitating a worm or caterpillar, which attract frogs, lizards, or other prey that the young Broad-Banded Copperhead eats.

The Broad-Banded Copperhead has elliptical pupils that look like cat's eyes and like all pit vipers, has a heat-sensing pit between the nostril and eye on each side of its head. The Broad-Banded Copperhead has a large, triangular head that is wider than the neck when viewed from above.


In the United States, the Broad-Banded Copperhead is found in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Map of US states the Broad-Banded Copperhead is found in.
Map does not show area of true distribution, only the states in which there is a population.
Actual distribution in any highlighted state may be limited.


When the Broad-Banded Copperhead is disturbed or feels threatened, it will often coil up its body, and raise its head at a 45-degree angle from the ground in a defensive posture. It will often vibrate its tail when disturbed as well.

The Broad-Banded Copperhead is born with the ability to bite and inject venom, and is fully capable of inflicting a venomous bite from birth.

Broad-Banded Copperhead on Leaves
Photo used by permission:
© 2004 Wolfgang Wuster

Broad-Banded Copperhead
Photo used by permission:
© 2000 John White

Broad-Banded Copperhead Closeup
Photo used by permission:
© 2003 John White

For more information on venomous snakes, please see the Venomous Links page.

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