Snakes prepare for the winter
As October and cooler weather arrives, plants and animals in our region are preparing for the coming winter. Leaves are changing color and dropping off the trees, and birds are flying southward. One animal that cant fly south though, is the snake. Snakes are cold-blooded, or heterothermic, so they cannot regulate their body temperature except by moving to warmer or colder places. Snakes cannot survive cold temperatures, so they have to hibernate.
Late September to early October is when most snakes in the region go down into their dens to hibernate. Some species such as rattlesnakes and garter snakes hibernate communally in the same den (called hibernacula). Snakes will seek a crevice, burrow, or other opening below the frost line for a den. When snakes hibernate, their metabolism slows and heart and respiration rates slow significantly.
What makes this time of year unique for spotting snakes is that they tend to spend more time foraging in order to build up more body fat to aid in the long winter hibernation. Also, because of the cooler weather, snakes spend more time on rocks, ledges, or paths basking in the sun in order to regulate body temperature.
If walking along a trail on a mild day, watch where you step, and keep your eyes peeled for some of these herpetological wonders.