Wondering what Do Copperhead Snakes Eat? Do they prefer a very specific diet or will they eat just about anything?
In this guide you will learn:
- What do Copperheads Eat in Wild &Their Favorite Prey
- How do Copperhead snakes hunt for food and how often do they eat
- How to feed a Pet Copperhead Snake.
Copperhead snakes are carnivorous and they are known to eat rodents such as mice and rats, small birds, other snakes, insects, bird eggs and amphibians such as frogs & toads.
The Diet of a Copperhead will vary depending on the environment they live in and the food sources available.
Their diet usually stays the same in captivity as it does in the wild, but there are some minor differences between the two environments.
In The Wild
In the wild, a copperhead’s favorite meal is normally a mouse that they killed.
When they can’t find any mice around, any amphibian or small bird will do, and sometimes they will go for some larger insects as well.
To kill their prey, a copperhead will first bite its victim and inject its venom into it. From there, the snake will hold the small animal in its jaws until it dies and then swallow it whole.
Copperheads are also known to enjoy eating cicadas whole.
These larger bugs make for a great, quick meal for the snake if they haven’t been successful in finding any mice, voles, or lizards.
Unfortunately, they have been know to eat their own young on occasion since they do not care for them directly after birth.
Surprisingly, a copperhead makes a great pet for any experienced snake owner and they are normally very easy to care for. Although, you still need to make sure they have the proper enclosure so they can live happily.
In captivity, you should feed your copperhead a good sized thawed mouse once every 7 to 10 days. You can also feed them small, thawed frogs and lizards too.
Normally, you will want your copperhead’s meal to already be dead as some live prey can potentially bite or injure your snake if they are in the same enclosure.
Here’s how Copperheads Hunt For Food
When copperheads are hunting, you will tend to find them slithering around swamps, rivers, and creeks.
Copperhead snakes are considered to be “ambush predators”.
Normally, these snakes will simply use the sit-and-wait method to hunting, but if they end up feeling hungry enough, they will actually slither around looking for food themselves.
If a copperhead is actively hunting for food, then they will use their heat sensory pit to help them locate warm-blooded prey that might be close by. This sensory pit is located on either side of the head between the eyes and nostrils.
You will normally see copperheads hunting in the daytime if the weather isn’t too hot. If it happens to be a hot day, then they will wait until night to hunt.
If you are wondering How Often Do Copperhead Snakes Eat…
Like most other snakes, copperheads will normally only eat one meal once a week, depending on how how the meal was. On average, this snake will only eat around 10 or 12 meals per year!
The copperhead diet will largely depend on the location and food that is available in its local envirovement.
Here we are going to go over the most common Rodents, Small Animals and other stuff that a copperhead snake would normally eat.
Interestingly enough, copperhead snakes love to dine on cicadas, Cicadas are one of the favourite meal of the copperhead snake! Like many other bugs, cicadas are full of protein and they are even safe for humans to fry up and eat.
Copperheads will normally feast on a cicada because it’s a quick and easy meal, kind of how fast food is for us. These snakes will wait and lunge at the cicada while it’s on the tree when they’re already preoccupied with molting their skin.
After it poisons the cicada, the copperhead will swallow it whole and depending on how big it was, it might end up going for another defenseless Cicada to eat it.
Like most snakes, copperheads particularly enjoy feasting on small rodents, and their favorite meal would be a nice mouse. On average, a normal sized copperhead snake is capable of eating up to 9 pounds of mice a year, and that equals to roughly 193 mice a year!
Copperheads will hunt wherever mice are found, which can be almost anywhere. The field mouse is among the species of rodent copperheads like to eat, and they can most commonly be found outside in farmlands, fields, tree stumps, and tall grasses burrowing away.
This is why you should always be careful when going through dense brush. If there are plenty of field mice around, then a copperhead will usually not be too far away either.
Rats are another species of rodent that copperhead snakes love to dine on. Since rats can normally grow a good bit bigger than the average mouse, copperheads will eat less of them a year.
Usually, a good sized rat can last a copperhead around three weeks before it will need to hunt for its next meal.
Rats can normally be found burrowing underground, below stones, in tall grasses, and they could even be hiding inside of the bushes by your home. These are all places you can find the copperhead as well, since they will be hunting for Rats around these areas.
The copperhead will feast on a small bird if it gets the chance to, and they will wait on the perfect moment to strike and inject it with its venom, just like all of its other victims.
Copperheads will occasionally even a whole chicken if they manage to track one down. Fully grown, fat chickens will be a bit too much for the copperhead, so they will often go for the baby chicks and the chicken that are a little more matured, but not quite fully grown yet.
Even baby copperheads snakes will attempt to go after your defenseless chickens, so be sure to use the proper preventatives so you can keep your chickens around for as long as possible.
Copperheads will gladly take any opportunity to feast on a chipmunk since they are among this snake’s favorite meals.
Chipmunks belong to the “small rodent” variety, and since copperheads particularly enjoy eating small rodents, the chipmunk, unfortunately for them, will fall straight into the hungry snakes line of sight for a quick meal.
Copperheads will take the opportunity to lunge at a chipmunk when they are on the ground looking for nuts to store in its den and than eat it. While they are preoccupied with finding their food, a hungry copperhead will almost always be close by.
Chipmunks aren’t necessary safe in the trees either, as copperheads can easily slither up the tree in search for its food and catch & Eat a chipmunk even in a tree.
While a cricket isn’t exactly the copperhead’s favorite meal, it is still a very quick and easy one that is packed full of proteins, much like the cicada. If any cicadas, lizards, or small rodents aren’t around, then a copperhead will settle for a cricket if it means it got to eat.
Crickets are most commonly found in the Eastern United States, like the copperhead, so it would make sense for the cricket to be on the menu for this snake.
Crickets can usually be found hopping around in fields, meadows, forests, marshes, and in trees and bushes. Many other small bugs and rodents can be found in these areas, so that means the copperhead is always close by.
Copperheads will eat a variety of large insects, and the spider is also on the list of insects it will eat. While it isn’t its favorite meal, like the cicada, a copperhead will eat a spider if the need arises and there aren’t many other options close by.
On occasion though, a particularly feisty spider will fight back against the snake and will sometimes result in the snake getting injured and, on the rare occasion, even killed.
You can commonly find spiders anywhere else you will find insects and other things that are on the copperheads lunch menu
Copperheads will also eat small eggs they are able to find. Copperheads aren’t usually known to eat chicken eggs since they like to go after the chicken more times than not.
Although, they won’t completely avoid a chicken egg either if it’s hungry and in the mood for a quick meal that it won’t have to put any effort into killing.
Copperhead Snakes will eat eggs for the same reason we do, and it’s for an easy meal that is full of protein, vitamins, and minerals. A good sized chicken egg will usually be enough to last a copperhead about a week before it will need to eat again.
What Do Baby Copperhead Snakes Eat
Not all copperheads are born in the wild, interestingly enough. Some are born in captivity and raised as pets, but only by people who are experienced owning other snakes.
If you happen to keep a copperhead as a pet, then just like any other pet, it is very important to do the proper research to learn exactly what their diet should be so they can live a happy and healthy life.
Baby copperheads are small, like any other infant living creature. So, they require smaller meals.
They can’t eat an entire rat, mouse, or frog.
Instead, baby copperheads thrive off of a diet consisting of insects, their favorite being a juicy caterpillar. On occasion, a small frog will do as well.
Baby copperheads are known to use their yellow tail tips to attract the caterpillars. The insect will think that the tail tip is another caterpillar and it will inch close enough so the copperhead can lunge and eat its meal.
Even though the copperhead is still a baby, people have said that their bite is very painful. Thankfully though, it rarely results in having to get anti-venom treatment from your local ER.
Here’s How To Feed Your Baby Copperhead Snake
Copperheads are known to be an aggressive species of snake, and the babies are no different in any way. Baby copperheads also have a tendency to be aggressive and they can also be a challenge to handle at times.
You need to be cautious and treat them the same way you would treat an adult copperhead. When placing an insect or small frog into their enclosure, use a long pair of tweezers to hold the insect to prevent the snake from biting you.
If you know that your baby copperhead is prone to biting, you can wear protective layering like a thick glove or an oven mit when feeding.
As we mentioned earlier, a baby copperhead’s bite is very painful, but the bites rarely end up becoming fatal to your health.
If you are Wondering How Often Do You Feed A Baby Copperhead Snake…
Much like the adults, baby copperheads can easily live off of one good sized meal for one or more weeks. If the meal is smaller, then your baby copperhead will probably only need one meal every few days or so.
If you notice your baby copperhead wiggling its yellow-tipped tail around, that means that it’s hungry and it’s trying to attract an insect so it can eat.
Do Copperhead Snakes Eat Other Snakes?
Yes, copperheads have been known to eat other snakes as well as its own young, but it isn’t something that’s extremely common.
Copperheads rarely have the need to eat other snakes as there is normally enough food in their habitats to keep them full and satisfied.
It has been known that copperheads, including other species of snakes, will eat their young if there is a lack of food supply in their environment and they are not able to properly prepare to reproduce again.