Around noon today I was walking toward the greenhouses in our yard when I spied a copperhead about 10 feet up in a redbud tree. I’ve noticed over the last 10+ years that it’s right about mid-July that our copperheads cease hunting cicadas and June bugs emerging from the ground and switch to hunting lizards, primarily American chameleons (anoles), in shrubs and trees.
From about June 1st until July 15th each year our copperheads come out from their hiding places to congregate at the base of trees in our yard just about a half hour before dark. At dark they begin cruising around the yard attempting to catch cicadas and June bugs that are emerging from the ground to eclose into adults. The June bugs emerge as adults at the surface while the cicadas crawl up into trees and shrubs to eclose. Apparently, these two insects make up about 80% of copperhead diet during this time.
In any event, we’ve seen as many as 28 copperheads in an evening. Their feast seems to end around 11:00 PM and the snakes retire to their hiding spots for the rest of the night.
Near the end of this period mating season starts and the snakes tend to travel in groups of males pursuing females.
By the middle of July the snakes start hunting lizards during the day and we see them in trees and shrubs. This population of copperheads have a green tail tip, which I believe they use as a lure for the anoles. In one of the photos you can see the green tail tip.