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Friday, March 1, 2013

Where do water snakes go in the winter?

Northern Water Snake - Summer 2012
They undergo a a kind of hibernation known as brumation in the winter, remaining awake yet inactive.  They don't need to eat for many months, though will occasionally emerge to drink water.  A snake in brumation locates a suitable place protected from frost: hollow tree trunks, caves, burrows, abandoned beaver lodges, or deep under piles of leaves.  Decaying organic matter will give out heat, keeping the temperature above the freezing point.  It not uncommon for them to share such a refuge with many other species of snakes -- scent trails left by the initial den occupants "guiding" others to the winter refuge.

February 2013


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