Do snakes hibernate?

Snakes do hibernate during the winter in order to conserve the energy of their bodies. Snakes are known to be cold-blooded reptiles and the temperature of their body will depend on the external factors. During hibernation, snakes may also be said to be in brumation, dormancy and wintering. Hibernation is the act of the reduction of body temperature, breathing, heart rate and metabolism for a long term. Hibernation starts in the late autumn and it will end in the early spring. When there is no good place to winter, then the females and male snakes may den together. However, where there are temperate climates, the snakes may not hibernate.

There are two things that make the snake decide to hibernate or not: their species and their location. The snakes that live in the tropical climates will never hibernate. The snake will start to hibernate when the temperature drops off. The activity of the snake will be high during the late summer or early autumn before the snake goes into hibernation and it can be in September or in December. The snakes will come out when the temperature outside has reached 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the place is warmer, then the snake will not go into hibernation, but they will go into brumation. The hibernation is a deep sleep that takes place in snow covered and colder climates. The snake will not sleep during the brumation; however, the temperature of their body will get lower and their metabolism will then slow down. They will be less active and they will not be too eager to eat. The hibernation and brumation are important for the breeding of the snake. When the snake is not able to cool down during some time in a year, they may fail to produce fertile sperm.

When outside is warmer, the bromating snakes may decide to go out in order to bask in the sunshine. This is why on sunny winter days it is not rare to find the snakes around.

Deep crevices and caves on rocky hillsides are the most common hibernacula for some kinds of snakes. The species may come together to hibernate and the common places they choose are rodent burrows. Other places can be the inside of a rooting log or a hole found under a tree. Under houses and barns may also be the best spots for the snake. Some snakes may die during the hibernation, especially skinny snakes. The snake should feed heavily before the hibernation and they should digest the food before the cooling period starts. When the food is still in the intestines or stomach when it starts to cool, it rots and kills the snake. The snake will start to go out again when the days become warmer but not too hot.

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