(RURAL NEWTON CO., Mo.) – Lauren Copple, our expert on all things animal and nature, told us recently of a copperhead encounter.

“Someone called and said they had a copperhead they had just killed. It was near where his kids were playing so he shot it,” Lauren tells us. Normally she doesn’t recommend killing a venomous snake unless you absolutely had to. Just try to be respectful of their space.

“Late summer, early fall brings the arrival of new reptiles. Small snakes and lizards and turtles will be on the move searching for food and new habitats. Venomous and non-venomous snakes have their place in natures and work hard to keep diseases carried by rodents down, and control populations of other snakes, insects, and other small prey.”

But the fascinating part is that Lauren went to identify the snake the caller had shot. It had been dead a few hours, “but the dead snake had 11 babies inside.”

“Venomous snakes are usually live birth. And this is the time of year babies will be out and on the move. They will actually learn to eat small stuff and then bundle up for winter. You can identify [babies] because their tail tips are lime green when they are born.”

“The next few months will be one of the few times you might see snakes in pairs, as they are leaving their nests or competing for food.” So you could see full grown snakes (not just copperheads) traveling together, as they will be looking soon for a place to winter. Keep that in mind when you begin raking leaves and preparing for fall.

According to the Missouri Department of conservation in our lower portion of the state we would encounter the osage copperhead.

“The eastern copperhead is the most common venomous snake in Missouri. Its color varies from grayish brown to pinkish tan, with distinctive hourglass-shaped crossbands.”

They grow pretty big, as adults they can be 24 to 36 inches, or two to three feet in length.

“Copperhead venom is considered mild compared to that of other venomous snakes, but medical treatment should still be sought if a person is bitten.”

For more with Lauren Copple? She is cooking with Wildcat Glades Friends Group on Saturday with the mosquitoes! That sounds interesting!

And to visit the Missouri Department of Conservation sight with more on snakes click here.