As cold weather arrives, snakes are gone for the winter.
by Jason Clark
As I went out to get in my truck this morning I noticed the frost blanketing my lawn. I immediately thought about all the snakes that seem to have disappeared for the season. Temperatures have already started dropping. Since reptiles are cold blooded, they cannot regulate their body temperature. Temperatures that are too cold or even too hot will quickly kill a reptile. But, don't let the thought of winter weather and snakes going into hibernation fool you. Snakes don't hibernate! Actually, they "brumate". Think of it this way. At a certain time of the year, notably as winter sets in, bears go into hibernation. Then, at a certain time of the year, spring arrives and bears come out of hibernation. Brumation with snakes works the same way but instead of brumating during certain times, they brumate during certain temperatures. As winter weather moves in and temperatures drop, snakes go under ground or as far away from the cold as they can. If in the middle of December temperatures rise for the day, many reptiles may be out taking advantage of it. Stacks of fire wood are a favorite haunt for many species of snakes due to the many hiding places it provides for them and the insects and rodents they love to eat. This winter, don't discount the fact that a copperhead could be resting underneath that piece of firewood you're about to pick up. Just follow my simple rules for avoiding snake bite and I promise you'll be fine.