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Cicadas act as easy food source for copperhead snakes

A Zoo Knoxville expert says this summer’s cicada event will provide easy meals to copperhead snakes.
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 11:31 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Director of Animal Conservation and Education at Zoo Knoxville Phil Colclough says the massive Brood X cicada event will supply copperhead snakes with an easy food source.

Colclough says the insect will be a novel type of snack for the snakes. “Yeah, I mean they’re mostly vertebrate feeders, made a lot of frogs mice and that sort of thing but I mean I think it’s opportunistic and if they’re there, though. They’ll eat them,” he said.

Colclough says that while cicadas will provide copperheads with a plentiful food source, the insects in residential areas shouldn’t attract any. He says that “the cicada is going to be so abundantly uniform across most of where they are” that copperheads should not have much reason to look for food elsewhere.

He says that, once approved by veterinarians, he hopes to feed some zoo copperheads some cicadas.

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