Southern copperhead "Highland Moccasin" Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix

The Southern copperhead is found at the extreme north end of Florida in Liberty county. These snakes range from a dark muddy brown to beautiful pale hues of apricot, orange and burgundy. Triangular markings on either side of their spines create an hourglass effect when you look straight down on their pattern from above. Babies have bright sulfur-yellow tails.

These snakes are closely related to the cottonmouth, but their venom is considered to be less potent and bites have historically been conservatively managed without antivenom. However this approach may need to be re-evaluated. The only previously available antivenom Wyeth Anticrotalidae Polyvalent did not contain specific antibodies for the Agkistrodon complex, and this equine derived serum is known to have severe side effects. The polyvalent currently in use for North American viper bite is CroFab, which is an affinity purified ovine serum that is not considered to have serious side effects and does contain specific antibodies for snakes in the Agkistrodon group. Click here for a more detailed discussion of snakebite and envenomation.

 

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