8 Snakes That Look Like Copperheads: Usually Misidentified Types

snakes that look like copperheads

There are thousands of varieties of snakes all across the world, of which copperheads are a resident of North America. Copperhead snakes are a venomous bunch from the pit-viper family. They’re quite common and very easy to find. Copperheads are usually spotted in shades of black, brown, and rusty orange, and have hourglass-like patterns on their body.

Since its appearance isn’t too unique, other snakes, even non-venomous ones, are mistaken for copperheads. If you live in an area where spotting a snake is common, read on to know about the various snakes that look like copperheads and how you can spot the difference.

Snakes That Look Like Copperheads

There are eight snakes that people commonly assume are copperheads, while in reality, they’re far from it. Let’s take a look at some snakes that look like copperheads.

#1. Common Water Snake

Water Snake

Typically found dwelling in freshwater bodies all over central North America and eastern America. These snakes can grow up to 2-4 feet and aren’t venomous at all.

The key to identifying them is the pattern; the common water snake has bulbous patterns on its body and round pupils of the eye, as opposed to the hourglass patterns and slit-shaped pupil of the copperhead.

#2. Corn Snake

Corn Snake

Corn snakes are distributed throughout the central and southeastern United States. They can grow up to 2-6 feet and aren’t venomous.

Corn snakes actually look very different from copperheads. It’s only tier coloring that might be confusing for some.

While corn snakes come in various colors, those that get mistaken for copperheads are rust orange or red. However, corn snakes have distinct “blotchy” markings on their body, as opposed to the copperhead snake’s hourglass markings.

#3. Eastern Milk Snake

Milk Snake

Image source: Pinterest

A species of kingsnake, the eastern milksnake’s northern variety is found from Maine to Canada while its southern variety is found from North Carolina to Alabama. They are non-venomous and can grow about 2-3 feet.

It is one of the common snakes that look like copperheads as it does share the saddleback pattern with copperheads. However, compared to the copperhead, the eastern milk is a brighter shade of red, with glossier and smoother scales.

#4. Eastern Hognose

Eastern Hognose

Image source: Pinterest

Named after their distinct pig-like snout, the eastern hognose snakes can grow to nearly 28 inches. They are quite spaced out across the continent, from east-central Minnesota and Wisconsin to southern Ontario, Canada. They can also be found in areas between New Hampshire and Southern Florida, Kansas, and Texas.

The eastern hognose is semi-venomous and harmless against humans. If you scare them, they’re likely to roll over and play dead.

#5. Diamondback Water Snake

Diamondback Water Snake

Image source: Pinterest

Distributed throughout the Central United States to Northern Mexico, the diamond water snake can grow between 2.5 and 4 feet.

They aren’t venomous and can often be found perched on tree branches next to freshwater to hunt tiny prey.

They have a black net-like pattern on their backs that resemble diamonds, which is why they may be mistaken for copperheads. However, their sides are lighter colored than copperheads.

#6. Banded Water Snake

Banded Water Snake

Image source: Pinterest

Banded water snakes are non-venomous and rather docile. They are found up north in areas like Indiana and down south in Louisiana to Florida. They can grow up to 2-3.5 feet.

Spotting the difference between this water snake and copperheads can get a little tricky, as they’re quite similar in color and patterns. But you’ll find that the banded water snake’s head is a little more rounded than the triangular-shaped head of the copperhead.

#7. Black Racer

Black Racer

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Found across the eastern United States, black racer snakes are quite tiny before attaining maturity, at just 9-13 inches. As adults, they can grow up to 2-5 feet. They’re non-venomous as well.

The adult blackhead is pitch black and usually has no patterns on its body. It is the young black racer that gets mistaken for copperheads. However, their size is visibly smaller, and their heads are shaped like little turtles with a large, smooth cap of scales on top, as opposed to the triangular head of copperheads.

#8. Black Rat Snake

Rat Snake

Image source: Pinterest

The black rat snakes are found distributed throughout the eastern and southeastern United States. They can grow up to 3-6 feet and are not venomous.

Compared to copperheads, the scales of the black rat snake are a lot smoother and glossier. They also tend to move their tail rapidly when in action; don’t mistake this for a copperhead or a rattlesnake.

A Few Parting Words

You should now be able to tell the difference between snakes that look like copperheads. All these snakes, except the copperhead, aren’t venomous at all or harmful to humans.

Regardless, the best course of action if you spot a snake is to simply leave it alone, or call your wildlife authorities if you’re concerned.

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