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I'm MilkMan Dan
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I figured this'd be as good as place as any to ask about the behavior of some local snakes. I know a good deal about them and have dealt with them before, but never like this.

4th of July, amidst throwing fireworks, I was walking round the side of my house (5 rural acres, North Central TX) and damn near stepped on a copperhead about 2-3 ft long. By the time I grabbed something to dispatch it with, it was long gone.

Friday night I was walking in the same area and there was a copperhead in the same place. One hot wife, one 10/22 and one rake later we'd dispatched it.

Last night my wife looks out the kitchen window, starts yelling and runs outside. I went outside and she had TWO copperheads pinned with the rake. I got the .22 and killed one; the other scurried into the brush. I'm walking back to the house, and find the 2nd snake....same place I saw the bugger on the 4th of July. Rake, wife, .22....done.

Walking back inside to get a flashlight so I can take the dead snakes to a ravine to dispose of them....copperhead number 3 slithers by. repear of rake, wife, .22.

That 4 in in less than a month....3 in less than an HOUR. The 2 that Kim pinned down were 'wound around each other' she says. I've seen snakes mating and they do twine a bit....males of some species also do a mating combat where they twine and raise up.

I did the best I could with the dead snakes and determined that at least 2 of the 4 are female. It's dry, we've been watering a lot, and there's tons of little toads and frogs around the house--great snake food. I figure we've created a little oasis, but it's just irking me that we've been at this house for about 3 yrds....never seen a copperhead and now this.

I routinely catch snakes on duty (non-ven species) and turn them loose near the barn or pond as mousers. GT cogniscenti, is there anything I can do to discourage or eliminate the copperheads? The old wives' tales about mothballs, ropes, etc don't work.

1. I'm glad to have a good dog (a sweet but retarded shepherd/Malinois mix) that alerts on animals in the yard.
2. I'm so glad to have a wife that isn't a wuss and will help out with things like this. I let her make the final headshot on the snake last Friday and we were both proud.
3. I am wondering if snakes (copperhead in particular) have any kind of scent or pheromone that attracts mates. I've seen winter denning behaviour in rattlers and other snakes, and I've seen congregations of some water snakes...but I've never had to deal with this many venomous snakes this close to the house in the middle of summer.
 

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Seems to be something about the weather around here. When it has been very dry or very wet they seem come out. I go more than a year sometimes & don't see any, then I'll see several in a day when we have had extremes in the weather. Not especially in one spot. Often they seem to like the warmth of the road in the early morning.
 

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OP skin those suckers and post their dried skins up for sale like on Ebay. I bet you could get a few good dollars for them. Plus once the snakes fine out their's a dollar amount on their heads, they will back off.
 

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Hearing what you saying sounds like you have several things bringing the copperheads to your ranch cowboy ............Sounds as if there was a nesting close by and the little ones have found a haven such as food, nice housing--they love mulch,wood chips (due to the breakdown causes heat), and so due bugs --then the frogs & toads come ..............Almost the perfect food chain . Copperheads mate in the fall and spring and give birth in --thats right July and August to live young -no eggs and can average up to 10 or so young .They do den like rattlers and usually do not wonder off from their habitat very far. They are more active at night and bask in the sun during the day. Most often copperheads do not prefer water but like most snakes can swim.Getting rid of them is relatively simple ----keep your grass cut short , remove places of habitant mulch piles,brush piles ,rotten wood, and wood piles etc. Eliminate the food source or make the copperhead the food source --- Find you a good old king snake --copperheads worst nightmare. Several years ago I went to a friends farm and caught one -solved field rats and copperheads. Finally geese they will deter any snake and make darn good burglar alarms.That's all I got ...........
 

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What's Up Dox?
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It's been a bad year in MS for copperheads. I've seen 3 so far, including one that was still a baby, out sunning himself on a public street as I was out walking.

I've got a friend here at work whose Akita tore a 3 foot long one in half a few weeks ago. Got bitten three times, including a strike to the nose.
 

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I'm MilkMan Dan
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Discussion Starter #6
A big male (3'+) on Monday night and a smaller one last night. They're usually within a few feet of where the last few have been. I took a little inventory and found every single one of the prey species listed (larval cicadas, frogs, mice, crickets, etc.)...the only thing I still can't get my brain around is the complete absence of other (esp. larger) snake species. I'e seen several Texas rat snakes on my property 5'+.

Pics attached are of the 1st one a couple weeks back (note the righteous headshot made by my lovely and brilliant wife). In the rake pic you can get a good look at the elliptical pupil and one of the fang sheaths.
 

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There is a repellent you can buy called Snake-A-Way. I think its a dry powder you spread around. Don't know how it works, but might be worth trying.
 

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I'm MilkMan Dan
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Discussion Starter #8
I'll look into it....I hate to drive away/disturb any of the natural fauna at my place, but me and the Missus and our critters come before the others.
 

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There is a repellent you can buy called Snake-A-Way. I think its a dry powder you spread around. Don't know how it works, but might be worth trying.
I think that's just napthalene (moth balls).

My MIL buys that stuff and her yard smells like a retirement home..........
 

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The wet environment you mentioned is what is bringing the copperheads. Any place they have to cool off, yet alone mate is going to attract them. I live in the foothills of the appalachian mountains in Kentucky. A much more moist area than Texas. Seems the copperheads here always stick to small stream, lakes, springs, and yes swimming pools. As long as you live in a copperhead infested area and have a moist to wet area, you will probably have this minor problem. Not much I can suggest. I do have a golden retriever that constantly brings me critters up to and including copperheads. Since I got the dog the snake population around my house has dwindled. Sorry there isn't much help for your problem. Around here we just wait for winter..lol
 
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