Employees of the C&C Tree Service in Canton, Georgia, got the shock of their lives when they were removing some dead timber on the back of the company's property when they discovered two huge copperhead snakes. While one of them got away, the other turned out to be a pregnant female carrying nine eggs and measuring about 32 inches long.
"Our employee was back there loading trucks, and two (copperheads) came out," said Amber Barnhart, co-operator of C&C Tree Service in an interview with the Cherokee Tribune and Ledger News. "They were able to get one, and they ran over the other one, they thought, with the Bobcat, but it went back under one of the woodpiles."
Barnhart said there was no doubt about killing the snake they caught, as she and her family reside on the property and had to keep safety a top priority.
"We have a 7-month-old daughter," she said. "It's not worth risking my child. It's not worth anybody around here getting bit. We have a huge family, and we all live here. Our grandmother lives even closer to the wood pile."
Despite some claims that this oversized copperhead was too big to be real, it seems this was very much a real copperhead that just happened to be well above the average size.
"On average adults are about 30 inches in length," Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Thomas Floyd said. "The way the copperhead is being held in the associated photo gives the impression that the snake is much larger relative to its actual size."
Floyd also noted that of the 24 snake species native to the area, only three are venomous--timber rattlesnakes, pygmy rattlesnakes, and copperheads--but all warrant the use of caution. And, while he understood the family's decision to dispatch the snake because of the danger it presented, he did note that it's often illegal to kill or target wildlife, which includes venomous snakes, without a permit. To stay safe from venomous snakes near you, be sure you know how to identify and avoid them before you actually encounter one.
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