When Do Snakes Hibernate in North Carolina?
North Carolina is home to many species of snakes. Some of these species, such as the Eastern kingsnake, remain active year-round. Others, however, enter a state of hibernation during the colder months of winter. So when exactly do snakes hibernate in North Carolina?
The Effects of Temperature
Snakes seem to be very sensitive animals when it comes to cold weather and prefer to remain in their warm dens for as long as possible. In North Carolina, snakes typically begin to hibernate when nighttime temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. They will remain in hibernation until temperatures rise again above this mark. This usually occurs sometime in late March or early April.
Snakes typically hibernate in groups, cuddling up to their fellow hibernators in order to preserve body warmth. They usually pick a den belowground such as a cave or hollow log. Even though they are asleep, they remain partially aware of their surroundings so that they can quickly flee if necessary. The only part of their bodies to appear above ground is their nostrils, so that they can take in oxygen.
The Benefits Of Hibernation
Hibernation offers many benefits to snakes, including:
- Conservation Of Energy: Cold weather requires snakes to use extra energy to stay warm, so by hibernating they can save energy and resources.
- Protection From Predators: While asleep, snakes are much less vulnerable to attack from their predators.
- Avoidance Of Cold Weather: Cold weather can be dangerous for snakes, and by hibernating, they can avoid potentially deadly temperatures.
As you can see, hibernation is an important part of a snake’s life cycle in North Carolina. If you happen to see a snake in the winter months, chances are it is in the process of hibernation.