Friday, October 10, 2008

Copperhead at Sleeping Giant

The letterboxing clues directed me to look for "a serpent's den" along the trail in Hamden. Turns out this was not just a figure of speech! This juvenile copperhead greeted me in front of the den and conveniently hung out while I fumbled in my pack for a camera, all the while trying not to tumble off the cliff just below me. When I got a little too close with the camera (that's what the macro setting is for, right?) he struck aggressively and was in no hurry to leave. The yellow-green tail tip is typical for a juvenile. After a while he finally decided he'd had enough of me and headed for the den (see video). I never did find that letterbox.

Although copperheads (and timber rattlesnakes) may be found throughout the state, it is on the traprock ridges of central Connecticut where they are most common. Still, I have never seen one until today, so this was a real treat, especially since I had the good fortune to not fall off the cliff in my excitement. I've found many snakes letterboxing and geocaching, mostly shy garter and ring-necked snakes (sometimes right on or under the box). This snake was completely different. It had an evil sort of beauty - the triangular head and the serpent eyes are very different from our more common and less dangerous snakes. It's appearence simply shouted out, "Danger!" The repeated strikes emphasized that point.

1 comment:

Mike VanValen said...

Nice find Teresa. Timber Rattlesnakes are very localized and can be found in only a handful of towns in Connecticut. The Northern Copperhead is more common, but also has a spotty distribution. For pictures of both of connecticut's venomous snake, please visit my my blog.

http://ctherpetology.blogspot.com/