Where Do Snakes Go in the Winter?

Frank Vassen/CC-BY-2.0

Unlike other animals, snakes do not hibernate in the winter; they stick close to home and brumate, a process in which they burrow underground and slow down their metabolic processes until the temperature warms up. It is a common misconception that snakes hibernate and many snakes can be seen on a warm day, basking in the sun, even in December.

Snakes are cold-blooded creatures. This means they cannot regulate their own body temperatures and need the sun to warm them enough to be able to function. In the cold winter months, snakes slow down their metabolism to barely keep them alive. When the temperature begins warming up, the snakes will seek sunlight to warm themselves so they can find food.