Broad-banded Copperhead

The Broad-banded Copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus, is a subspecies of North American copperhead snake found in the southern United States. It can be found from Kansas through Oklahoma and throughout central Texas. It prefers lightly wooded habitats, typically with a good amount of ground debris for cover, not far from a permanent water source. They typically avoid regions with a significant population of humans.

This snake is typically light tan in color, with darker brown, wide cross bands, which gives it its common name. Their actual color varies by locality, varying from a red-brown, to a gray-brown. In the western reaches of its range, the species can be difficult to distinguish from the Trans-Pecos copperhead. The only notable physical difference between the subspecies is that the Trans-Pecos copperhead tends to have an elaborately patterned underside, often being an irregular, white and black pattern whereas the broad-banded copperhead tends to be plain white, only having minimal patterning, or having elongated random blotching instead of a distinct pattern.

They grow to approximately 20-36 inches in length. As juveniles, all species of Agkistrodon have a bright green-yellow color to their tail tip believed to be used as a lure to attract prey items to approach within striking range. The color fades to a grey or brown at about a year of age. They are an ambush predator, eating lizards, frogs, and rodents, with juveniles having a taste for various kinds of insect, such as cicadas. They are ovoviviparous, giving birth to a litter of up to 8 young in the early fall.

Photo by LA Dawson