The impact of development on copperheads in Connecticut: a preliminary study


Powers, Andrew

powers077@wcsu.edu


Pinou, T.

Department of Biology

Western Connecticut State University

Danbury, Connecticut USA


The eastern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) is a medium-sized viper native to the east coast of the United States of America. However, within New England, the copperhead has experienced declines within this range and is considered a sensitive species in Connecticut. The main cause of this decline is thought to be a combination of human persecution and habitat loss. Within the last three decades there has been an increase in urbanization and land-use change in central Connecticut. The effect of land-use change on snakes is not fully studied. Previous research has found that southern copperheads in urban sites are significantly smaller than those in rural sites (Carrasco-Harris et al. 2020). Our preliminary study examines the effects of habitat fragmentation on copperhead body size by comparing snout-vent length of snakes sampled at two fragmented sites and a larger unfragmented site. By understanding how development is impacting copperheads in their central Connecticut stronghold, this sensitive species can better be preserved at the northeastern edge of their range.