Rattlesnakes are a group of about 32 species of venomous snakes best known for their distinctive rattle located on end of their tail. They are found in parts of North, Central and South America. The largest number of species are found in the southwest of the United States and Mexico. They can be found in almost every habitat, but most species live in open rocky areas. These rocks provide them a safe place to hide from predators and a place to hibernate. Let’s take a closer look at this process.
When do rattlesnakes hibernate?
Most species of rattlesnakes hibernate during the cold winter months, but species native to warmer climates may not hibernate. They will usually gather together and huddle in a cave or underground den. It is common for hundreds of rattlesnakes to use the same den, which they also share with other animals such as turtles, mammals and other snakes. It is common for the snakes to return to the same den each year and can travel a few miles to reach their destination.
Rattlesnakes will also enter a state of rest, called aestivation, during the hot and dry months. This is designed to protect them from the intense heat.
Did you know?
A rattlesnake den is known as a hibernacula.
Rattlesnakes are predators who kill their prey by injecting venom with their fangs. The venom is also dangerous for humans and rattlesnakes are the leading cause of snakebites in North America. Fortunately, rattlesnakes rarely bite unless threatened and their bite is treatable with prompt medical attention.