Can You Spot This Camouflaged Copperhead Snake Hiding in Plain Sight?

Written by Gail Baker Nelson
Updated: November 10, 2022
© DnDavis/
Share this post on:
Think You Know Snakes?
Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Animals use all sorts of camouflage techniques to hide in plain sight. The gaboon viper is an excellent example. Its vivid pattern helps break up its body shape in the dense leaf litter of its native habitat, making it nearly invisible until you step on one.

What is Disruptive Camouflage?

Disruptive camouflage is a common sight in nature if you can spot the animals that use it. Animals that use disruptive camouflage are made nearly invisible by patterns and colors that you might think should make them exactly the opposite.

A pattern that looks like fall leaves may look vivid when you hold it against a solid-colored background, yet place it up against those same leaves, and you’ll never see it. For example, you’ll find that zebras bunch together when a predator approaches. Their stripes make it impossible to tell their heads from their tails, and all the animals in the herd blur together. Other examples include zebras, giraffes, reticulated pythons, and copperhead snakes.

62,932 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

About the Copperhead

Copperhead snakes use the same approach to camouflaging as a gaboon viper or a zebra
A Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen) lying on leaf litter, taken in New Jersey.

© Kenny

The copperhead snake is a venomous pitviper native to the southern United States. There are two accepted species, the eastern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) and the broad-banded copperhead (Agkistrodon laticinctus). These snakes aren’t as dangerously venomous as their close cousin, the water moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus). However, their bite still requires medical attention.

Copperhead snakes use the same approach to camouflaging as a gaboon viper or a zebra. The copperhead’s alternating dark brown/burgundy pattern over a base of light brown serves as camouflage that closely matches the colors and patterns created by the dry leaves where it lives.

While they’re not typically aggressive, their habit of hiding in plain sight makes the copperhead a snake that you must look out for when you’re out in nature.

Can You Spot the Copperhead Snake?

Snakes are inherently difficult to spot in the wild because they can slither silently through tree branches, under the leaves, and even under the ground. Their stealthy nature and excellent camouflage make them easy to miss.

This photo, credited to Jerry Davis of Texas, exemplifies the copperhead’s camouflage. Finding this snake is like finding a needle in a haystack. Can you spot it in the below image?

The snake is almost dead-center in the photo. Do you see it? This particular copperhead species, Agkistrodon contortrix, has a pattern that looks like an hourglass when viewed from above. However, all you can see in the photo is the snake’s side, which shows the lower half of the hourglass. It looks like a curvy line of chocolate kisses with a light-colored center.

Revealing the Copperhead Snake in the Photo

It may take a few minutes to spot the snake in the leaves, which should tell you why experts say you should always hike with a stick. Using it to gently move the leaf litter around before you step helps prevent stepping on a spicy noodle like this copperhead.

Look at the marked-up image below if you haven’t found it yet. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it!

Up Next

Discover the "Monster" Snake 5X Bigger than an Anaconda

Every day A-Z Animals sends out some of the most incredible facts in the world from our free newsletter. Want to discover the 10 most beautiful snakes in the world, a "snake island" where you're never more than 3 feet from danger, or a "monster" snake 5X larger than an anaconda? Then sign up right now and you'll start receiving our daily newsletter absolutely free.

More from A-Z Animals

The Featured Image

Northern Copperhead
Northern Copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix
© DnDavis/

Share this post on:
About the Author

Gail’s love for a very misunderstood group of animals, reptiles, led her to write about and draw them. She loves the natural world and it’s endless inspiration for her work. She is a freelance writer and illustrator, and her latest book, “Pebble Skins and Fast Walkers: What’s In a Name?” Is due out in early 2023.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.