Last night let the dogs out for their last pee before bed, and Misto alerted on something in a dark corner by the water tap. I figured it was a toad until I heard the soft rattle of the tail. I shooed the dogs back, and made them do a "down," scooped them up, and crated them inside. I then moved this FAT copperhead into a deep pail with the help of an old pair of coon tongs in the garage, and put a bigger pot over the top with a couple of bricks on top.
This morning I slid the snake into a bag and transported him to a small patch of woods . He'll be fine, but he's too venomous to be around the wee ones. Copperheads are not rattlers, but they vibrate their tails enough that, if you are familiar with snakes, you know what the sound means.
Copperheads top out at about 3 feet in length -- about half the length of a black snake -- but they pack a punch. Though it's unlikely the dogs would be killed by a bite, the swelling would be considerable and there might be some tissue loss at the strike point. There is not much a veterinarian can do for a copperhead bite, other than bill you. The standard remedy is to put the dog on a low dose of Benadryl, make sure it has plenty of water, and let it rest until the swelling goes down.