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What Happens to Snakes during Winter Season?

Blog | July 13th, 2017

There are many interesting facts to learn about snakes in Australia, such as there are 140 species of snakes that live on land, and 32 species of sea snakes. Interesting to note that roughly 100 species of snakes are venomous, but only 12 snakes types have a bite that could kill a person, these include the king brown snake, the death adder, and the tiger snake.

Unlike mammals and birds that can naturally regulate their body temperature, snakes are ectothermic animals – reptiles, and they need external heat sources to warm their bodies. In fact, the level of activity of reptiles is directly related to the temperature of the ground and air. They will gravitate to the warmth of the sun and will lay out in the open, or near warm rocks and surfaces when the sun begins to set, and during the night they will typically go underground where it is warmer.

Basically, when it becomes colder, snakes will become less active, especially if there are no external heat sources available. Considering this, curious people have been compelled to ask what happens to snakes during winter season. Do they hibernate?

Snakes Brumate during Winter Season

Snakes will always try to warm their bodies, but if the climate becomes too cold, they will brumate – a lethargic state somewhat analogous to hibernation, but not the same – in areas near whatever heat source they can find, and then they will become active again when the temperature starts to rise. In areas where temperature fluctuates during the winter season, such as along coast lines, if it becomes warm enough, snakes will venture out on warm days to bask in the sun and to look for food.

Although, in areas where it is continuously cold, the metabolism of snakes will slow down and they will brumate, using up stored fat to survive until warmer months return. In Australia, snakes don’t properly brumate, they reach a semi-dormant state if it it is not too cold and there are heat sources available to them. That is why on warmer days during the winter season snakes sightings increase.

With warmer weather being experienced in recent years in Australia, which is believed to be the effects of global warming, snakes have become more active throughout the year because their activity levels are tied to the climate. Because native snake species are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, snakes that are discovered on a person’s property must be removed by non-lethal methods, so as not to harm them. Snakes must be released within 24 hours after capture, close to the area they were caught.

If you discover a snake on your property, stay calm, don’t panic, and call Black Snake Production, they offer a reliable snake removal service in Melbourne.