One of the largest copperheads ever reported turns up this week on Tennessee road

Anthony Landreth shows the width of the venomous copperhead found this week in west Tennessee....
Anthony Landreth shows the width of the venomous copperhead found this week in west Tennessee. It was more than 4 feet long.(Facebook screenshot)
Published: Oct. 24, 2019 at 2:28 PM EDT
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(Mark Price/Charlotte Observer) - Venomous copperheads typically grow to no more than 3 feet long in the Southeast, but a near record-setting member of the species was found this week on a road in west Tennessee.

“All I will say is that copperheads can get over 4 foot long AND they are plentiful in Hardeman county!” Anthony Landreth posted on Facebook. “Absolutely the biggest I’ve ever seen.”

Landreth, who is a hunter, included photos showing the snake measured 49.5 inches — just over 4 feet long.

The largest copperhead ever recorded was 4 feet, 5 inches, according to the University of Georgia Extension.

How the potentially deadly pit viper met its demise near Bolivar, Tennessee, is not as dramatic as one might expect, considering its size.

But Landreth tells the McClatchy news group that he didn’t kill it, nor was he there when it died.

“This snake was actually a road kill,” he told McClatchy, noting a friend was the first to spot the corpse. “With all of my years in the outdoors, I knew this snake was not the normal copperhead.”

Landreth said he contacted a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency game warden to examine the snake, after word began to spread in the county of the large discovery.

“He, too, recognized it as being extremely large for the species. I gave it to him and they are going to try to save it for an exhibit,” Landreth told McClatchy.

Killing a copperhead is illegal in Tennessee (and many other states), unless it poses an immediate threat, according to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

Copperheads, which mate in the spring and fall, are among the most widespread of venomous snakes in the South, according to

“A bite is painful and should be treated as serious, but it is not considered life threatening,” says the site.