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Snake Hides & Decor

One of the characteristics that likely drew you to snakes was their adaptability to various climates. Snakes live on almost every continent, meaning they have a range of habitats they call home. You may wonder how these majestic creatures survive in the cold. Or you may have noticed a change in your snake’s activity level when temperatures fall. Are they hibernating? Snakes generally engage in brumation, which could be mistaken for hibernation. We’ll discuss the differences between the two below and take a quick note from snakes on how to keep their environment a healthy place year-round.


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When animals hibernate, they store up fat and sleep until warmer weather arrives. Likewise, snakes won’t eat while brumating, so their stores of glycogen are used to maintain weight and muscle. The snake will lose its appetite when it senses temperatures dropping, allowing time for all the food in its system to be digested and passed before digestion shuts down. If your captive snake ceases to eat outside of the winter months, you’ll need to check its heat source to ensure that it’s properly heating the habitat. Changing daylight hours could also prompt your snake to prepare for brumation. Regardless, if your snake refuses to eat, you’ll need to brumate your snake to prevent it from starving. Brumation slows their metabolism, which helps snakes survive when they can’t digest food. But unlike mammals that hibernate, snakes won’t sleep the whole winter. Although slow and sluggish, they’ll need to wake up to drink and come out to bask on warmer days. In the wild, they’ll seek out dens that stay above freezing and have a source of water nearby. Having a crafted basking rock will enable your pet to maintain a healthy body temperature year-round.

Many captive snakes have controlled environments around the clock. This makes it possible for them to skip the process of brumation altogether. But some snake keepers prefer to brumate their pets to help them stay in sync with their natural rhythm. You should only attempt to brumate your snake if you have been fully educated on how to do so safely. How cold your snake needs to be, and for how long, depends heavily on the species. When brumating your snake, you'll mimic the natural drop in temperature over several weeks. When you feed your snake is also extremely important. Any undigested food left in its stomach when brumation begins will rot and cause your snake harm. Remember to provide plenty of freshwater for your snake to avoid dehydration. Once your snake is ready to return to normal temperatures, you’ll reverse the process. Keep in mind that brumating is a natural process for your snake. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your exotic pet veterinarian immediately.