Two-headed copperhead snake found in Leslie County, donated to wildlife center
A tree service worker in the north Georgia city of Canton was working when two uninvited guests suddenly slithered out of a woodpile he was sorting through, the Tribune & Ledger reported.
That wouldn’t be too surprising on its own. Snakes love to hide in woodpiles and other dark, cool crevices, and that includes the two copperheads who crawled out from the lumber.
But what did surprise people was the sheer size of one of the serpents the crew was able to catch and kill. The massive-looking snake is covered in splotchy markings, pregnant and, at first glance, seems to be longer than the man holding it up.
A photo of an employee holding the snake went viral on Facebook and was shared more than 350 times. Chase Curtis used the post to warn people that snakes were out and about this summer.
“Keep ur eyes open this summer and think twice before u walk threw over grown brush or grass ... and tell ur kids not to be paying in brush or thick areas where rats or chipmunks will be ... cause if one of these boy bite down on u it’s to late ... keep ur eyes open out there,” he wrote.
Many commenters were astounded by the size of the snake. Others thought the snake should not have been killed.
“We have a 7-month-old daughter. It’s not worth risking my child. It’s not worth anybody around here getting bit,” Amber Barnhart, co-operator of the tree service company, told the Tribune & Ledger. “We have a huge family, and we all live here. Our grandmother lives even closer to the wood pile.”
Others were skeptical of the photo and thought it may have been faked.
Curtis told WXIA the snake was real, and that it was about 40 inches long — which is big, but not early as large as the record-holding snake, which was 53 inches long, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The average length of a copperhead is between 24-36 inches, according to the National Zoo. That makes the snake larger than average, but not by much.
So why does it look so dang huge in the photo?
It’s about perspective.
“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,” Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Thomas Floyd told the Tribune & Ledger. “Holding an object as close to the camera and as far from the person as possible produces an optical illusion.”
In the Facebook post, a man who says he took the photo gave the length at only 32 inches, and also said the snake only looks bigger because of how the photo was taken.
Copperheads are found across the eastern and central U.S. and are often found in forested areas, according to the University of Georgia. They are venomous.
“Luckily, copperhead venom is not very potent and deaths from copperhead bites are exceedingly rare. Most snake bites occur when someone tries to kill or harass a snake, so the best way to avoid a bite is to leave any snake you find alone,” the university wrote.