Spring is upon us. And that means it’s that pesky time of year when we have to clean up our yards and rake up the leaves that we missed before winter descended upon us last year. But with spring cleaning comes a danger that most people do not even consider. Now in a post that is going viral, a PhD student in Florida is warning people of the danger of snakes lurking in fallen leaves after 99% of people could not even locate the snake in a picture that she snapped and posted onto social media.
Even for someone paying attention to their surroundings, it’s extremely difficult to spot the poisonous snake in this photo because it is so well camouflaged with the fallen leaves and twigs. Look closely. Can you see it?
After thousands of people failed to spot the snake in the picture posted by Twitter [email protected], many frustrated people began to share the photo, passing the challenge along to their family and friends.
Helen, who is behind the twitter [email protected], eventually put her followers out of their misery by posting this second photo, revealing where the Copperhead snake was hiding along with the caption: ‘If y’all haven’t found it yet…’
These snakes are very common in North America and are some of the most likely snakes to bite. Although they are rarely fatal to humans, they can be a huge concern for parents of young children and pet owners as kids and our furry friends are more likely to be hospitalized from a Copperhead snake bite.
An animal hospital in Pittsburgh put out an alert after several dogs in the area were hospitalized after getting bitten. One veterinarian warned that even though you find a snake and kill it, that extreme caution must taken since the snake can still infect you with their venom, as their muscles are still able to contract if you pick them up.
Live Science has more about these snakes’ characteristics so you can know exactly what to look out for as you’re out in nature this spring:
Copperheads are medium-size snakes, averaging between 2 and 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) in length. According to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, female copperheads are longer than males; however, males possess proportionally longer tails.
According to Beane, copperheads’ bodies are distinctly patterned. Their “dorsal pattern is a series of dark, chestnut-brown or reddish-brown crossbands, each shaped like an hourglass, dumbbell or saddlebag … on a background of lighter brown, tan, salmon or pinkish,” Beane said. He further described the saddlebags as “wide on sides of body, narrow in center of back — the crossbands typically have darker margins and lighter lateral centers.” Meanwhile, “some crossbands may be broken, and sometimes small dark spots may be in the spaces between the crossbands.”
Several other nonvenomous species of snakes have similar coloring, and so are frequently confused for copperheads. However, copperheads are the only kind of snakes with hourglass-shaped markings.
In contrast to its patterned body, the snake’s coppery-brown head lacks such adornments, “except for a pair of tiny dark dots usually present on top of the head,” said Beane. He described copperheads’ bellies as “whitish, yellowish or a light brownish, stippled or mottled, with brown, gray or blackish, often large, paired dark spots or smudges along sides of [its] belly.”
Copperheads have muscular, thick bodies and keeled (ridged) scales. Their heads are “somewhat triangular/arrow-shaped and distinct from the neck,” with a “somewhat distinct ridge separating [the] top of head from side snout between eye and nostril,” said Beane. Their pupils are vertical, like cats’ eyes, and their irises are usually orange, tan or reddish-brown.
Young copperheads are more grayish in color than adults and possess “bright yellow or greenish yellow tail tips.” According to Beane, “this color fades in about a year.”
Copperheads are pit vipers, like rattlesnakes and water moccasins. Pit vipers have “heat-sensory pits between eye and nostril on each side of head,” which are able to detect minute differences in temperatures so that the snakes can accurately strike the source of heat, which is often potential prey. Copperhead “behavior is very much like that of most other pit vipers,” said herpetologist Jeff Beane, collections manager of amphibians and reptiles at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
H/T [Daily Mail]