Crestview police remove copperhead found by neighborhood child

Courtesy: Officer Justin Reed, Crestview Police Department

CRESTVIEW, Fl (WKRG) — Crestview police routinely capture intruders in residential areas, but Thursday, the intruder came in the form of a reptile.

Officers responded to a call in the Old Bethel Estates neighborhood after a young child came across a two-foot long copperhead snake.

“The snake was found by the resident’s son while taking the trash out,” said Sgt. Lucas Reed. “The
snake was hiding under the trash can and was discovered after the child moved the trash can.”

Crestview Police Sgt. Lucas Kraus grins having captured a copperhead snake in the Old Bethel
Estates neighborhood Thursday afternoon.
Courtesy: Officer Justin Reed, Crestview Police Department

As an officer held the snake down with a PVC pole, Kraus used a rubberized cable snare to grab hold it. It’s a device Kraus says he made specifically to address snake sightings.
“We keep getting snake calls, so I made it,” he said. “It cost me about $4.”

Kraus then relocated the copperhead.

“I just walked him over into some woods and let it go,” Kraus said. “I kinda like snakes.”

Agricultural agent Jennifer Bearden at the UWF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension office said there’s been a recent increase in copperhead sightings in the area although they’re not supposed to be here.

“They are not recognized as being and living in our area but we have a lot of calls about them lately,” Bearden said. “Typically they like a rocky terrain, so until recently they’ve been in the Alabama area but now they’re expanding their territory.”

Bearden says the County Extension relies on residents submitting photographs of the snakes with their smartphones to research the snake’s territory and migration. Smartphone cameras must have the geographical locator feature turned on in order to verify location.

“Crestview is not right across the Alabama line, so we need to drop the territory down a tad (on the map) to show that they are here,” Bearden said.

The snakes are also commonly mistaken for native snakes like cottonmouths and black water snakes, but there are subtle differences to help people identify them.

“They look a lot like a juvenile cottonmouth,” Bearden said. “The difference is the tail. They will have a yellowish tail. There are some water snakes that look like it as well but they won’t have
the pit viper head.”

More on understanding the difference between copperheads and cottonmouths.

What to do when you find a copperhead snake

1. Snap a photo on your smartphone, geolocator on.

2. Email it to bearden@ufl.edu

3. Call your local law enforcement — do not mess with it — and await further instruction

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