Snake Control In The Fall Is Important

DO SNAKES COME OUT IN THE FALL?

timber400Snake activity picks up as temperatures fall in late summer and early autumn before they go into hibernation, which can be as early as September or as late as December. On warm days, snakes in brumation sometimes come out of their dens to bask in the sunshine. 

WHAT TIME OF DAY ARE SNAKES MOST ACTIVE?

Snakes are most active in the early mornings on spring and summer days when the sun is warming the earth. Snakes turn in for the evening, sleeping at night. Rattlesnakes can only bite from a coiled position. When someone gets bitten by a snake, immediately apply a tourniquet above the bite and ice it. 

AT WHAT TEMPERATURE DO SNAKES BECOME INACTIVE?

Generally, rattlesnakes emerge from hibernation in March or April, or when the average daytime temperatures reach and remain about 60 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. In warmer southern states, snakes often don’t go into hibernation, but brumation. 

WHAT IS THE COLDEST TEMPERATURE A SNAKE CAN SURVIVE?

Snakes usually stay out of cold climates. Because the coldest temperature any snake can thrive in is around 65° Fahrenheit (18° Celsius), snakes normally live in the warmer temperate or tropical zones. 

With cooler weather finally upon us, you may think that venomous copperhead snakes would be well on its way to hibernation. But this is simply not true. In fact, with the warmer weather we experienced and the ginormous amount of rainfall from the hurricanes, they are just as active as ever. What makes it worse is with all the fall colors of orange, red, and brown leaves start to turn and fall to the ground will make for excellent camouflage for snakes. 

As a community we were all in disbelief when we heard about a local realtor waiting to have dinner with her family at a local restaurant in Fredericksburg, Virginia was bitten by a baby copperhead snake right at the door! This is something no one wants to have happened. If you take a look at the restaurant’s landscaping, you will see they had dense shrubbery which is a great hiding place for snakes. Copperheads are not only extremely hard to see, but they are also highly venomous. And, when bitten by these aggressive snakes, it is very painful. Copperheads are able to bite multiple times delivering deadly amounts of toxins into the skin. And if you have stepped on a snaked, it will be very difficult to remove as it will be angry and will have dug its teeth in rather deeply. 

What do you do first when you suspect you’ve been bitten by a poisonous snake? First, try and identify the species of snake. This is crucial to your treatment and health. What you need to remember is that even non-venomous snakes that bite and puncture the skin can cause an allergic reaction and may need medical attention. You may need a beta blocker that prevents itching or a steroid to reduce swelling and inflammation. 

So, please watch where you are stepping and wear proper hiking shoes when walking through the woods. Another step you can take is to keep fallen leaves raked up around your home. Keep your yard free of debris and wood piles as neat as possible and far from the actual dwelling. And if you are to encounter a snake, please stay calm, do your best to identify the snake and give Summit Environmental Solutions a call at 844-253-8080 and we will come out and evaluate the situation. Our experts are certified in these types of encounters and will know what to do for you. We will protect your family and pets. 

Brumation probably isn’t a word you hear often in association with your exotic pet, or ever really, unless you’re a herp expert. You may not be aware that some reptiles go through a winter sleep. It’s similar to the hibernation period of some mammals, except that when your lizard, snake, or tortoise does it, it’s called brumation. If you’re a new exotic pet owner, no worries. We’ve compiled this short guide to everything you want to know about reptile brumation.

WHICH REPTILES BRUMATE?

First of all, it’s important to know whether the reptile you own should enter a brumation period. Animals from temperate climates are likely to have evolved for a long winter sleep during the colder months. But if you own a snake or lizard from tropical climates, like a ball python or iguana, it’s a bad sign if it looks like it’s trying to hibernate.

Tropical reptiles should not enter a brumation state. So if it appears that they are, they likely have a health problem that needs to be checked out by an exotics vet.

Herps that tend to brumate include:

  • Bearded dragons
  • Russian tortoise
  • Leopard geckos
  • Crested geckos
  • Corn snakes
  • Milk snakes
  • Garter snakes

DO YOU OWN A REPTILE AS A PET?

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HERP FOR BRUMATION

The first thing to know about preparing a reptile for brumation is to watch its cues. If your pet doesn’t show any sign that it wants to enter a less active state, then you don’t really need to do anything to artificially induce such a state. Captive snakes, lizards, or tortoises may enter a pseudo-brumation state in which they eat much less and are less active, but don’t fully brumate.

Even in captivity, reptiles that are going to brumate tend to do so in colder months, so if the weather is turning cool and you notice food refusal and lots of sleeping, that’s your pet’s cue. Then, take these steps.

PREP THE HERP’S DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

Keep your normal heat and light setup for about 14 days after your pet’s last meal. This gives it time to digest and clear its bowel. Otherwise, the food will rot and possibly kill your reptile because digestion stops during brumation. Once the bowel is cleared, remove the heat and lighting.

ACCLIMATE THE REPTILE TO COOLER TEMPS

Leave the heat and light off in your reptile’s habitat for 1 week. This gives the animal time to adjust to a cooler temperature. Your herp should be kept at about room temperature at this time. There’s no need to make the room colder. Don’t feed your exotic pet during this period.

MOVE YOUR REPTILE TO A COLDER AREA

Once the adjustment period is over, it’s time to move your pet to its brumation location. This should be a lesser used room of the house, like a basement or laundry room, with cooler temperatures, between 50 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not put your pet in an area that gets colder than 50 degrees. It’s okay if the temperature of the room fluctuates a bit.

You also want to get the humidity right in the brumation area. The animal will need moisture in the air so it doesn’t dehydrate, but it should not be kept in a wet area. Again, do not feed anything, but do keep a water dish available. Your pet may wake to drink and return to its brumation state.

As a safety measure, weigh your exotic pet every couple of weeks during brumation. When it loses weight during this state, it means it has lost water. You should give it a 10 to 15-minute soak in room temperature water and then put it back in its brumation location. You’ll know that brumation is over when your pet again moves around actively in its enclosure. 

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