It can be impossible to find any snakes during winter in the Rocky Mountains. The reason for this is because snakes are hiding from the cold weather.
Since it is the middle of December I always think of this as the time that winter is truly starting. Up until this point some years the weather is still mild or fall like. During the fall you can still see many animals active, but come winter time there are not as many. Animals choose different strategies to survive winters chilly temperatures, including snakes.
What Snakes Live In The Rocky Mountains?
Before I explain what happens to snakes during winter I thought it would be good to remind you what snakes live in the Rockies. There are a several different species, including the racer, garter snakes, western rattlesnake, gopher snake, and the northern water snake.
What Strategies Do Animals Choose To Survive Winter?
Some of the main strategies that animals choose include hibernation, migration, or adaptation. There are various forms and degrees of each of these, but these are the main three.
Where Are Snakes During Winter?
Snakes are reptiles, and similar to amphibians, they are cold-blooded or ectotherms. This means that they can’t regulate their own body temperature, but the outside environment dictates their body temperature.
This means that they are not active at all during the winter because it is just too cold. In order to survive, snakes enter a state of hibernation called brumation.
You don’t see snakes during winter in the Rockies because most of the time they are hiding underground in their hibernacula trying to rest and stay warm. Their hibernacula may be under the ground, in a tree, among rocks, or even in a basement or under a house. Basically, they are looking for somewhere that will stay warmer than the outside temperature and has a little bit of moisture.