Snake Hibernation Facts

Minneapolis snake

Snakes are most active from spring to fall season; then, they will disappear once the temperature becomes too cold. Due to this, some people will think that snakes are going through a period of hibernation. However, that is not always the case. Snakes will not actually hibernate, but they will become less active. In fact, they can resume their activity during the warmer days of the winter.

Will Snakes Hibernate?
A lot of us are familiar with hibernation. It is the process where the animal will go into a deep sleep to conserve their energy until the winter season is over. For instance, due to the lack of food supply, bears will often go into hibernation mode. However, before this, they will eat as much as possible to build up those body fats. Once the hibernation starts, they will consume these extra body fats in a prolonged manner that will help them last throughout the cold season. During hibernation, the animals' temperature will drop, their heartbeat will slow down, and their metabolic rate will decrease significantly. Compared to bears, snakes will not go into hibernation. Their sudden decrease in activity is called brumation.

What is Snake's Brumation?
Snakes are cold-blooded creatures, and it will be impossible for them to stay active during the winter season. The cold wind will probably make them lethargic. Snakes and other reptiles will bromate, a thing that is a bit similar to hibernation.

During brumation, the animal will not require the same amount of sleep as those who are hibernating. In fact, they will remain active on some days to forage foods and water. When the day is warm, they will go out of their den, hunt for food, and return to brumation. During this act, they will be using significantly less energy to survive for weeks or even months. Brumation may start anytime from September and may last up to April. It actually depends upon the weather. Snakes have the ability to sense if the weather outside is warm and will immediately leave their den to forage.

Where do Snakes Go During the Brumation Period?
When snakes brumate, they will look for any warm place, such as the abandoned burrows of rodents. They can also do this in deep caverns, caves, and tree stumps. They will ensure that their place also offers them enough protection from outside elements. The strong winds and rain should not disrupt it. Usually, the snakes will share their den with other snakes to share body heat and have a better chance of surviving the winter. The communal den may include baby snakes, female, male snakes, different snake species.

Snakes are most active when the temperature range is around 80 to 90-degrees. Therefore, they will be very busy during the spring. In summer, some snake species can die if exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. They need a place that will give them shed, such as under the shrubs. As the temperature falls, they will become less active to conserve their energy. Go back to the home page: Snakes of Minneapolis