Although you’re less likely to see copperheads and tiger snakes in the wild, it’s still useful to differentiate between the two. Both copperhead and tiger snakes are venomous, but these two species live on opposite ends of the globe. Each snake begins by preying on tiny creatures such as mice and crickets. However, as they grow, they can successively kill larger prey.
Here, we will look at the exact differences between these two types of snakes. We’ll start by comparing their size and appearance. We’ll then learn where in the world these reptiles occur and what types of habitats they prefer. After that, we will discuss the behavior of copperhead and tiger snakes. Finally, we’ll explore the lifespan of each species.
Read on to learn more about how copperhead and tiger snakes differ!
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Comparing Copperhead vs Tiger Snake
|size||24-40 inches long||36-80 inches long|
|appearance||Bronze-colored head with an hourglass pattern on the body||Narrow head, flattened body, yellow and black stripes|
|location and habitat||North America; forested areas, swamps, rocky slopes||Australia; wooded areas, grasslands, near water or swamps|
|Behavior||Not aggressive, wags tail when threatened||Nocturnal, good at swimming, aggressive nature|
|life||15-29 years old||10-15 years old|
Key Differences Between Copperhead and Tiger Snake
The key difference between copperhead and tiger snakes is that copperheads grow to a little over three feet while tiger snakes can grow to a little over six feet. Additionally, tiger snakes are excellent swimmers and often hunt underwater. Copperhead snakes, on the other hand, spend almost no time in water. Another difference between the two species is their behavior: tiger snakes flatten their bodies, while copperheads vibrate their tails.
Let’s take a closer look at the exact difference between copperhead and tiger snake.
Copperhead vs Tiger Snake: Size
Tiger snakes are not small snakes. They don’t grow to enormous lengths like Burmese pythons, king cobras, or green anacondas, but they are definitely not to be messed with. Most tiger snakes grow to 3-4 feet. However, the largest specimens reach lengths of over six feet. Which region of Australia the tiger snake comes from largely depends on its average size.
Copperheads, while deadly, are not very large snakes. The largest copperheads are about 3.5 feet long, but most barely make it to 3 feet. These snakes have a medium-weight body similar to that of a rattlesnake.
Copperhead vs. Tiger Snake: Location and Habitat
Copperheads are native to the eastern half of the United States. They don’t occur in the Florida Panhandle or the Great Lakes region. However, they can be found as far north as southern Canada and as far south as northern Mexico. They are habitat generalists and can be found in swampy areas, wooded hillsides, rocky outcrops or in fields. Because they prey on rodents in abundance, copperheads are very fond of areas with rodent populations, such as farm fields and outbuildings such as sheds and barns.
Tiger snakes are only found in Australia and neighboring Tasmania and Bass Strait, among other small islands. They are common in southeastern and southwestern Australia. Tiger snakes are also found in different populations in northern and central Australia. They are usually found near swamps or swamps, often hunting underwater.
Copperhead vs Tiger Snake: Appearances
As expected, tiger snakes have stripes. However, depending on which part of Australia you are in, they may be so dark that the streaks are barely visible. The most distinctive specimens have distinct black and yellow stripes. Unlike the copperhead, the tiger snake has a relatively narrow head with rounded pupils.
The copperhead is one of the most unique snake species in North America. As their name suggests, they have broad, triangular, copper-colored heads, large fangs, and vertical oval pupils. Their bodies are brown to tan with regularly spaced hourglass-shaped markings on their backs.
Copperhead vs Tiger Snake: Behavior
Both copperhead and tiger snakes have deadly venom. If you come across any kind of snake, do not attempt to handle or approach them. If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately. When cornered, each species has unique means of self-defense.
Copperheads coil into a ball and vibrate the tip of their tail rapidly to simulate the rattling sound of a rattlesnake’s tail. When encountered in dry foliage, they make sounds very close to those of their more dangerous cousins. Tiger Snake is not without tricks. These snakes have been known to aggressively defend themselves and not hesitate to bite humans. They also flatten the front half like a cobra to appear larger and more menacing.
Copperhead vs. Tiger Snake: Lifespan
Copperheads are common snakes in much of the Midwestern and Eastern United States. They usually live 15-29 years in the wild. Tiger snakes are found in southern Australia and Tasmania, where they usually live 10-15 years in the wild.
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