Rattlesnake Season 2022 is Winding Down!

By Philip Bonafede

Now that we are winding down Rattlesnake Season 2022, here are some facts to help us understand what happens when snakes disappear for the cooler months.

Do rattlesnakes hibernate or brumate? Either reference explains their winter slumber, meaning they minimize movement, respiratory and pulmonary activities to conserve body fat and protect themselves from the elements. Colder temperatures trigger a suspended animation where they appear nonresponsive. They are not asleep!

Can a cold rattlesnake suddenly strike me? Highly unlikely in the winter! Relocating a snake in this condition is very tricky and has to be done with the utmost precision and professional diligence or the snake could fall prey to a predator or die if exposed to the elements.

Do they get hungry or thirsty? Yes. On any given day they can begin moving towards a water source or seek food if it is needed.

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What is a rattlesnake den? Usually, 2 or more snakes constitute a den. They can occupy an old rodent hole, pack rat den or piece of plywood. A typical den may only have 2-3 snakes wintering together and lying on top of each other.

How long do the rattlesnakes hibernate? Depending on the temperatures, anywhere from November until mid March to early April in the high desert. Palm Springs is up to 15 degrees warmer so rattlesnakes may be active year-round.

What if I see a sleeping snake on my property? I cannot stress this point enough… Please leave it alone. It will never bother anyone unless you disturb it. If you are concerned for your family and pets, then call a kind, friendly professional rattlesnake wrangler. I teach a Professional Rattlesnake Relocation Class for those who wish to invest the time. Text me for details!

How do I learn more about Rattlesnake Behavior? Refer to Dr. Emily Taylor, UC Berkeley, on YouTube. She is a wildlife biologist with 20 years of rattlesnake behavior research. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZMU4cA4u9k&ab_channel=LosPadresForestAssociation

Read Jim Cornett’s book, 30 pages, Rattlesnakes: Answers to Frequent Questions.

Subscribe to Rattlesnake Solutions out of Arizona for excellent up to date information and video clips of rescue/relocations done professionally. Owner, Bryan Hughes is highly recommended. https://www.facebook.com/snakeremoval

October is the month the Baby Speckled Rattlesnakes are born. For the last 2 years, it was on October 10th. Females give birth to 6-8 live young up to 10 inches in length. They remain with mom for up to 2 weeks. They are born with soft skin like a human until they shed in 2 weeks and then have scales. Each time they shed they get a new rattle as they are born only with a tiny button that makes no sound. After shedding they leave their mother in search of food and shelter. Sadly only one of the 8 may survive into the spring! Baby rattlesnakes are NOT more dangerous than adults. This is an ancient urban legend. Baby rattlesnakes have very tiny venom glands in comparison to adult snakes.

For ongoing information about Rattlesnakes & K9’s please join my Facebook page: Phil’s K9 Rattlesnake Aversion Classes. Questions?
760-401-4488 text preferred.

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