On opening day, Rowan Wild introduces Peepers the copperhead snake

Published 12:08 am Friday, March 10, 2023

SALISBURY — Rowan Wild at Dan Nicholas Park had its opening day Thursday morning and kids, adults and nature lovers alike all got a chance to see the Nature Center’s newest inhabitant: Peepers, the copperhead snake.

The 1-year-old female snake is about a foot and a half long, with dark and light brown hourglass-shaped spots, and a mix of white and black spots on her belly. She was donated to the Nature Center in the fall by a local reptile breeder and now lives in a glass enclosure. You can usually find her curled up underneath one of her logs.

Because she is venomous, feeding Peepers her favorite food, mice, can be tricky.

“We actually have at the top of her enclosure a slit and we drop a divider down into her enclosure so she’s on one side and we can service the other side safely,” said Megan Cline, the Nature Center’s supervisor. “We have hooks and things so we can move her without actually touching her.”

She could potentially live into her 20s, Cline said.

Copperheads are one of the most common types of venomous snakes in certain parts of North Carolina. If they feel threatened, copperheads vibrate and release musk from glands at the base of their tail. Threaten copperheads even more and they will bite, but their venom is rarely fatal to humans.

Peepers and the other animals are used for educational purposes. Rowan Wild only has animals that are native to North Carolina.

“As you walk through Rowan Wild or through the Nature Center, you’re going to see animals that you will potentially see in your yard or somewhere in North Carolina,” Cline said.

While opening day only had around 80 to 100 visitors, Cline said she expects this coming Saturday to be fairly busy because it is opening weekend and the weather is supposed to be nice.

For Rowan Wild’s hours, ticket pricing and events, go to rowancountync.gov and search for Rowan Wild.