Some country dwelling old timers speak of a dangerous crossbreeding of two snakes—the copperhead and the black snake. This would make it seem advantageous that residents eliminate both sorts of snakes from their properties. Is the tale true? Do black snakes and copperheads crossbreed, or is it just a myth?
Blacksnakes and Copperheads
References listed below assure us it is not only a myth but also an impossibility. These two snake varieties are of different species (strike one). Blacksnake cells differ fundamentally from those of the copperhead in their number of chromosomes (strike two). A difference in chromosome count is critical when it comes to crossbreeding.
Also copperheads are live bearing snakes, whereas black rat snakes are egg-layers (strike three—you’re out!). Doubtless you now realize (if you didn’t beforehand) that black snakes and copperheads do not – indeed CANNOT – crossbreed.
Note: You might also enjoy Outcome of a Dog Bitten by a Copperhead
- Penn State University: The Virtual Nature Trail
- Missouri Department of Conservation: Reflections: Ask the Ombudsman