Reminder, It’s Still Copperhead Season In Oklahoma
As I see more and more people out and about in nature, soaking up the enjoyably temperate sunshine and really taking in what little autumn Southwest Oklahoma gets, now is a good time for a reminder that it's copperhead season in this part of the country.
Fun Fact: In most years on record, copperhead bites account for the most snake bites, especially in recent years. Do you know why that is? It's because they're one of the most common snakes in America. Stretching from New England to New Mexico, across the midwest and plains states, and down into Mexico, the five different types of copperhead snakes are everywhere on this side of the Rocky Mountains.
Another Fun Fact: Unlike other venomous snakes, a copperhead won't give you a warning that you're too close. They strike out the second they feel threatened, and because you have to have eagle-eye vision to spot them so often in the wild, and the fact they don't hiss or rattle at you, people usually don't even see them prior to a bite.
There is good news to all of these copperhead shenanigans though... While feared and universally respected by nature-loving humans, their venom isn't that potent. That's to say you're probably going to hurt, a lot, but the odds of dying from a copperhead bite is so rare, scientists say it almost never happens. Like all odds, they're never zero so to speak.
So why are they so active this time of year? Well, days are a lot cooler so they spend as much time in the sun as possible. The fact that they blend in so well with so many terrain types means people don't spot them and end up with a bite.
Add in the fact that copperheads are one of a few snakes that give birth to live baby snakes this time of year, and there is a veritable population boom going into fall. They're easy enough to spot, usually pale in pattern colors and they almost always have a bright yellow/green tip of their tale.
Though born small, eight to ten inches, copperhead snakes take their first breaths with a mouth full of fangs and venom just as potent as the mother. These snakes also smell like cucumber, but that's lost on anyone enjoying the outdoors during allergy season.
If you love the outdoors like I do and plan on spending as much time out there as possible, keep your eyes on the ground. It's ridiculously easy to miss these danger-noodles in an area of leaves. Also, when you hike, stay to the middle of the path as they make a habit of sitting in ambush mode along the edges, under whatever brush lines the way.
If you do manage to spot one, keep your distance. While they're small, they are really aggressive when they feel threatened. You may not feel like you're threatening them, but they don't know that. Take a pic, post it wherever for fake internet points, and continue on your way to enjoying the outdoors.