Beware Around Oak Trees and Cicada Chirps as Copperheads Could be Nearby
We've reached that point in the year where we can sit outside as the sun goes down and just enjoy the sound of nature around us. It can be very mesmerizing and very calming for our minds and bodies. One bit of that peace, however, could have a small bit of danger with it, the song of cicadas. That song could be attracting a slithering friend.
At some point in our lives, we've run into a copperhead while enjoying the outdoors. But recently, researchers have discovered a new feeding pattern for the snake. According to the Houston Chronicle, reports have come in of gatherings of twenty or so copperheads around oak and other large trees. The gatherings happen starting at dusk till around midnight.
The reason...they are feeding on cicadas.
Starting around June 1 until the end of September, cicada larvae begin making their way from their underground nest to shed their shell. You know, those empty shells you find stuck on trees, the side of your house and other places with the split on top. That's a hatched cicada.
With this migration, it becomes like a buffet for the copperheads as they just hang out and feed on the unlucky few that can't make it past their strikes. When the cicadas have finished coming to the surface, the snakes go about their business.
So why is this new? According to the Houston Chronicle report, herpetologists only discovered this behavior a few years ago. It has just gone unnoticed because it happens at night in spots we normally wouldn't be when the sun goes down.
Copperhead venom has been shown to fight certain cancers, including breast cancer.