Do you worry about your water snakes during the winter? Some of the common species during Spring, Summer and Fall for the northern states are include: Black Rat Snake, Corn Snake, Garter Snake, Copperheads, Water Moccasins and the Northern Water Snake. You will see these beauties slithering around your pond and in your grassy fields, looking for places to sun themselves and for food. But during the winter, they go into hibernating.
Snakes are ectothermic, which means they use the environment to regulate their body temperature. When the weather is warm you will find them sunbathing on rocks, stumps or brush in the full sunshine. When they are not basking in the sun they can be found hiding among sticks and plants they love blending into aquatic plants, muskrat houses and beaver lodges. Which gives them the element of surprise on their prey (meals). Snakes have to rely on outside forces to keep their own internal body heat and metabolism churning. For the winter they take a hiatus and spend time in their burrows underground, below the freezing line.
In general water snakes are our friends. They may eat hunt some of the indigenous wildlife, and some fish and frogs, but they also do damage to the rodent population – which we all can appreciate. Never kill a snake, without good reason, because they are important to our environment. If you see a snake and are not sure if it’s a safe or dangerous variety, contact your local university extension office and describe the snake’s size, color, scale pattern and where you found it.