Snake do not hibernate, but they do something similar called brumation.
It is the period where the metabolism of a snake slows down rapidly. In short, they become less active. Brumation is similar to hibernation where they sleep for longer hours. They will wake only for water and food. Or, if the weather becomes warm again.
How long do snakes live in brumation?
Snakes are cold-blooded animals. So, they become less active in cold weather because they become lethargic during these conditions. During the winter season, most reptiles including snakes enter brumation. While brumation is almost similar to hibernation, it is a bit different. The amount of sleep in brumation is less than hibernation.
There is no question that reptiles sleep during brumation. But they wake up only when they need food and water. So, whenever a necessity comes, they go outside and try to find water and food. After finding food, they will return to brumation and continue for longer hours.
Because snakes use less energy during this stage, they can go with the food for longer periods than usual feedings. The brumation time starts from anywhere from September to December and continues throughout March or April. In short, it depends on the type of weather pattern in a particular area.
They will come out of brumation if there is a change in weather. It means when the temperature begins to rise again. The warm weather warms their blood and makes them more active. Snakes can sense the outside weather when it gets warm. Or, they notice the conditions when they are out of their den to forage.
Where do they go at night?
Many people wonder where snakes go at night. As you know, there are many variants of snakes worldwide. And, not each of them behaves the same way. Some snakes are nocturnal. It means that some of them remain active mostly at night. And, some of them do activities during the daytime.
Another thing that determines whether they come out at night or not is their body temperature. To avoid hot temperature, some species take shelter during the daytime and comes out when it is cooler. Species that have pit organs come out in the dark to detect animals for food.
The snakes that remain active throughout the night are likely to visit high temperatures with optimal humidity areas. One great example would be a stable, or houses in the rural areas. Because snakes are cold-blooded animals, they need warm temperatures so that their bodies can perform their daily functions.
Other facts about brumation:
During brumation, you might think that the snake isn’t sleeping because they don’t close their eyes like other animals and humans do. In reality, they have a clear, thin layer called the ocular scale that covers their eye.
Snakes do sleep during brumation and they sleep for nearly 20 hours straight on an average day daily when they enter brumation. However, the timing might fluctuate depending on their eating schedule and the time of the year.
Right after eating, they feel tired and goes into the state of brumation again for another long period. When brumation is over, they move out to a sunny spot so that they can raise their body temperature.
When do snakes come out from brumation?
Snakes enter brumation when they become less active because of the cold temperature. During brumation, they will sleep for longer hours during the daytime. Also, they don’t depend on their stored body fat and will come out if there is a need for water and food.
However, they will come out when there is enough sunlight. After feeding themselves, they return to sleep again for another long period. This activity is not frequent and you can rarely find them outside during winter.
But, after the temperature rises to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, snakes finally end their brumation and comes out of their den. This is the right time where they start their active summer periods. In most places, the temperature rises during March or April. And, this is when snakes come out of brumation.
How far underground do a snake can go during brumation?
There is no definite answer to this question because it depends on many aspects. However, their favorite locations are the holes in the ground. Again, these holes are created by other animals because snakes can’t dig. If they find a hole with a rodent, they will eat the rodent and take the hole to sleep.
However, snakes can dig deeper into the ground only if the sand, mud, or dirt is very loose. Also, they might take shelter under rocks or hollow tree trunks. There are many species of snakes and they live in various habitats.
So, they will find something when they have to enter brumation. They will sleep anywhere that will keep them safe from predators and provide the required temperature for their extended sleep.
What is the favorable temperature for a snake?
For a snake, the favorable temperature where they can perform their activity happens between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is almost the same worldwide. Moreover, they remain active for shorter periods in temperatures lower or higher than that. However, extreme heat from direct sunlight can prove deadly for them.
So, the activities of a snake on any given day depending on the time of the day, weather and temperature. On bright sunny days, they seek shelter and shade to stay cool. And, they are mostly found in tall grass, shady trees, underneath rocks, or porches. When it is cloudy, they come out in the open for longer periods.
Snakes are most active around dusk and early morning when the temperature is not that high or very low. They will hunt in weeds, tall grass, or other sources of vegetation. Sometimes, snakes look for dark and shady places, especially around a stable or home where they can cool down and take a rest.