Spring is here and with it comes warmer weather and increased activity across the preserve. The bees are buzzing, the birds are singing, and the snakes are slithering!
Snakes are ectothermic, meaning they rely on external sources to provide adequate temperatures for them to thrive; they do not create or maintain their own temperature like mammals. As the weather cools in the fall and winter, native snakes respond by entering brumation. Hibernation and brumation are very similar: they are periods of dormancy in which an animal becomes less physiologically active, growth stops, and metabolic processes slow down. Unlike hibernation however, snakes do not sleep for the entire duration of their dormancy period; they will experience periods of activity in conjunction with periods of milder weather. During these brief periods of activity, the snakes will leave their chosen hiding spot or den to bask in the sunshine or find a drink of water.
As the seasons turn and the world warms back up, the change in temperature, the photoperiod (number of daylight hours), humidity, and even barometric pressure, all tell animals that spring is coming and it’s time to start preparing. This time of year, we begin seeing more and more snakes on the move through the nature preserve. Having relied on their built-up reserves of fat and glycogen all winter long, these reptiles are hungry and on the prowl for snacks! But you shouldn’t worry- humans are far too big for any local snakes to chow down on; our scaly friends are far more interested in rodents, small birds, and even other reptiles.
As they start becoming more active, you may encounter snakes hanging out in nature, by the road, or even near your home! The staff at Quest recently uncovered a little rat snake hiding in our conference room, likely looking for a dark, quiet place to warm up in. Do you know what to do if you find a wild snake?
Don’t panic! Contrary to what the movies teach us (looking at you, Samuel L Jackson!), snakes are NOT out to get you. So, stay calm and carry on!
Avoid disturbing the snake- you don’t want to drive it into hiding, especially if it’s in your home.
If possible, carefully open a nearby door and use a broom to gently herd the snake outside.
If you can’t herd the snake and it’s coiled or bunched up, slowly place an appropriately sized container over it, then put a weight on top to trap the snake.
Call for help! You can call a private pest removal service to remove snakes from your home or living area.