Where Do Snakes Go in the Winter?
Snakes can be found out and about all throughout summer, early fall, and late spring. Most people assume they hibernate, or don’t know where exactly they go.
The truth is that snakes don’t actually hibernate. Sometimes they can even be seen outside on warmer winter days!
Because snakes are cold blooded, they can’t control their body temperature. This means that their insides are as warm/cold as it is outside.
So where exactly do they go in winter, when it’s too cold for them to be outside usually?
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Snakes & Brumation
You may have heard of hibernation before. Hibernation is a state of prolonged sleep some creatures such as bears use to survive the winter. Bears will stock up on food, and then sleep the entire winter!
Most snakes can’t hibernate, but they can “brumate.” Brumation is a state in which their metabolism greatly slows down so that they don’t run out of energy.
The snake isn’t asleep, but instead greatly slowed down. It can’t move as fast, and it also doesn’t need to eat.
Just like animals that hibernate, snakes will eat & drink as much as possible before winter so they have energy throughout the winter.
Problems with Brumation
Not all snakes survive a winter. Very skinny snakes that haven’t had enough to eat will likely pass away over the winter.
Furthermore snakes that ate a creature but weren’t able to fully digest it will not survive the winter. Their metabolism will slow down in the cold making it impossible to digest the animal which is rotting inside of them!
Finally a snake must be in a proper “den” in order to brumate. Snakes usually stay in the same den every single winter. If they can’t reach the den in time, then they may try to create or find another den. If they can’t, then they will freeze to death outside in the cold.
Warm Winter Days
On warmer winter days snakes can be seen outside. This surprises people that aren’t used to seeing snakes out throughout the winter!
This isn’t as common, but it does happen. If a snake is easily able to bask in sunlight from their den (such as if their den was in a tree), then they can be spotted warming up in the sunlight before resting inside their den again.
If it’s a very warm day, then a snake may venture out to hunt or get some water. The snake will not go far from the den because it knows it’ll get cold when night comes.
Where do Snakes Brumate
In the wild snakes brumate inside trees and underground. They typically will brumate together. By all cuddling together they can keep themselves warmer and safer. Dozens of snakes can often be found brumating together.
With recent urban & suburban advancement, snakes are beginning to enter states of brumation inside people’s homes and properties!
The reason for this is because our homes have a much more stable temperature (a snowstorm won’t destroy their den). It also protects them from other creatures that might want to eat them.
This scares a lot of people because usually there is more than one snake in the “den” area of the home. In fact, as high as a number as 50 or even 100 snakes can be found bromating at once! They stay together in order to keep each other warm.
Some areas that snakes might brumate inside of your home is under the foundation, between walls, in the attic, and other areas which aren’t easily accessible to you.
If you think that you may have a snake or other wildlife-related problem, be sure to call us at 855-WILDLIFE and we’ll be happy to offer up some advice.
Thanks for reading, have a great day!
-Wildlife x Team International