Can you identify this snake that bit me?

Asked September 5, 2016, 5:35 PM EDT

The hospital identified it as a copperhead but I don't think so. At least I got antivenin and recovered. Sorry, all I have is a picture of the dead snake in a plastic bag, but its markings are fairly visible.

Cherokee County North Carolina

6 Responses

Thank you for your question. I can't really make out that much due to the flash reflection on the plastic bag, however the pattern on the stomach looks like that of a copperhead. Also, if that's the top of the head between the coils, from what I can make out of the shape and color, it appears to be a copperhead.

Sorry I can't be more definitive, but I would have to see a better photograph to be sure. Thank you for using Ask an Expert.


Thank you for your response. I wish I had a better photo. I appreciate your input.


I kind of thought the spots looked like those of the timber rattlesnake. I attached a photo.

The newest photo you sent is actually a pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius) not a timber rattlesnake. The ventral (stomach) blotches on the timber rattlesnake are not as large as those of the copperhead. In addition, the blotches of the timber rattlesnake are often grouped together on adjoining scales, while the ones on the copperhead are usually singles.

If you're local library has a copy, or can get one through interlibrary loan, of Reptiles of North Carolina by William M. Palmer and Alvin L. Braswell, you can check out drawings of both the dorsal and ventral areas of these two species and compare them.

Hope this helps, and thank you again for using Ask an Expert.


Thank you. I've been having a difficult time finding pictures of the markings of the bellies of snakes. And those I find online are not always what they are identified as, such as the photo above. I'll look for the book.

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