Copperheads were very common here, less so now that more people have moved into the subdivision. My yard is sort of an oasis for them . E. TX is expecting record cold in spite of climate change so I was covering a few things; damn ground orchids are already blooming. I let the camellias take care of themselves; there are too many to cover. I lifted a large plastic tub that was inverted on the ground , a smallish ,dormant copperhead fell out on the leaf covered ground. He did not move so I built a well insulated enclosure over him ( with an exit). Temp is now 40 F but 30 is expected tonight and mid 20's the next two nights. I am wondering at his chances of survival ; I estimate his body temperature will get to mid 30's F. I had thought they went deep into animal boroughs; we have many voles and some moles ( because there are not enough copperheads left to keep them under control). I have a well insulated garden shed that will probably not go below 50 F but I don't want to move him unless it is an emergency.

  • $\begingroup$ I will try to write a more detailed answer when I get back to my office, but just quickly, you might find this paper useful: Sanders, J.S. and Jacob, J.S., 1981. Thermal ecology of the copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix). Herpetologica, pp.264-270. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2021 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ Generally as long as their tissue does not freeze they are OK, brumation makes snakes pretty cold tolerant, it is more likely to die of dehydration than cold. Moving it to a warm area is not a great idea as it may cause it to come out of brumation early. Some decent cover is all they need, your enclosure should be more than enough as long as it is made of something insulating like wood or plastic, (just don't put it in a metal enclosure. Don't worry if it does not move, in very cold temperatures it may not move for days. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Feb 13, 2021 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, helpful. I did not know the name but moving him to a warm location where he could wake seemed like a problem . Actually your comment is an answer. $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2021 at 19:15


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