They are sometimes called “Cottonheads.” Some more strongly represent copperheads and some more strongly represent cottonmouths, but if you pay close attention, one can destructively see both in these amazing snakes.
We know very little about the genetics of these right now, but Carl Person at the university in Loma Linda, CA is running some tests.
Also very little is known about the venom, but Dr Bryan Frye intends to research some of the samples from my snakes.
All that I have been in direct contact with show hybrid-vigor. It is thought that by breeding genetically different snakes such as hybrids or separate localities, you “splice” back together genes that were long ago separated by location, time, and inner species evolution. (I certainly do not believe in cross species evolution. A fish did not turn into a copperhead or cottonmouth, but I do think it highly likely they did come from a common ancestor.) All are ferocious eaters with above average growth rates.
It was widely thought that since they are a hybrid, they would be infertile, but last year I teamed up with Bart Borchert and we produced the world’s first F2 copperhead x cottonmouth hybrids. (F2 = second generation)
The color and pattern combinations are incredible and seem to change with age. I have 4 total: a captive born pair (female Mardi Snipes 2005 & male Bart Borchert 2007), an unrelated female captive born 2007 in coastal SC, and a wild caught female collected in GA. As the captives grow, the parental resemblance seems to fluctuate. My 2005 female began to show a black iridescent tint at about 3 years old. My 2007 CB SC female is now showing somewhat of a reddish tint. Roark Ferguson has a male from the same littler as my 2005 female. My girl shows way more copperhead, as were his male shows much more cottonmouth.- apparently wide verity among litter mates is the norm. Dr Lee Spencer, of Southern University, is an expert in genetics. He told me that he expected the F2 (second) generation to come out something similar to 25% copperhead, 25% cottonmouth, and 50% hybrid. The one F2 litter produced was not large enough to confirm, but future litters should enlighten us as to weather or not this will be the case.
This is my CB 2005 female and the only known proven breeder female in the world. She was produced by Mardi Snipes from a large male southern copperhead from Savannah, GA bred to a female FL cottonmouth form Lake Okeechobee, FL.
This is my CB 2007 male. He is from the same parents as female.
This is my CB 2007 female. She was produced in error by a commercial collector who captures mass quantities of copperhead and cottonmouths and houses them together in an outdoor pin. She was found in the pin among other babies, so it is not known which species was mother and which was father. (note to that, all that we know of born in captivity have been male copperhead to female cottonmouth)
This is my GA female that was collected in Hancock County, GA. She was collected in 2006 by Matt King and taken to Chad Mintor, author of Venomous Reptiles of the Southeast. I acquired her from Chad last year.
This is the only known F2 copperhead x cottonmouth hybrid, produced from my CB 2005 female and her brother, owned by Bart Borchert.
This is a picture (couple years old) of the CB 2005 male owned by Bart Borchert.
This is a picture (one year old) of the CB 2005 male owned by Roark Ferguson. This was a littler mate to Bart and my 05’s but note the extreme color difference.
Here are a couple picture of the original F1 snakes (parents of the 05’s)
This picture was emailed to me. The owner and origin are unknown to me.
I know very little about this snake, but was what I was told unofficially, it was produced form a Trans Pecos Copperhead male to a FL cottonmouth Female.
I am very interested in the study of these hybrids. If anyone has any further information or pictures, please feel encouraged to post on this thread.