Where do copperheads go when the temperature drops in Texas? Check your home

As cooler temperatures thankfully embrace a heat ravaged Texas, does that mean snakes will crawl under wherever they usually go when it gets cold?

Snake brumation is what hibernation is to mammals, meaning they seek a warm and safe hiding place as the temperature cools. Snakes and other reptiles are cold blooded, which means they cannot regulate their own body heat.

Snake season starts in March and runs all the way through December, said Randall Kennedy, owner of Dallas Fort Worth Wildlife Control. Texas alone is home to over 100 species, with 15 being venomous.

Here’s what we know about snake brumation and when the slippery serpents take their long nap:

What time of the year do snakes go into brumation in Texas?

Late November and into December, Kennedy said.

Now that doesn’t mean that Texans won’t see snakes from December to February, but they won’t be as prevalent as during the spring, summer and fall seasons. The fall season actually has the perfect temperature for snakes — it’s not too hot or cold, Kennedy said.

Snakes will start coming out of brumation in late February and early March as the temperatures warm up.

Where do snakes in Texas go while in brumation?

Simply put, wherever they can find warmth. Snakes will nest in all kinds of places in a home or outdoors, including:

  • Crawl space under a house

  • Wall voids

  • Attic spaces

  • Brush, wood and rock piles

Is there a way to snake-proof a Texas home in winter?

Yes, that’s called wildlife exclusion.

Wildlife exclusion is the task of animal proofing a home, Kennedy said. People may look at their home and think its in tip-top shape and secure, but they need to seek help from a wildlife professional to check off all possible points of entry.

“I can look at any single house that’s never had exclusion work and find hundreds of spots where snakes can get in,” Kennedy said.

For those needing exclusion work, Kennedy recommends seeking out services now before snake brumation begins this winter.

Is it true that snakes can work their way up people’s toilets?

Yes, snakes have in fact been found hanging out in toilet bowls.

However, the snakes aren’t actually coming from the city, rather the plumbing pipe exhaust vents found on the roof of a house, Kennedy said. Snakes will work themselves into these vents, which lead to sinks and toilets.

Kennedy said he removes several snakes from toilets a week, mainly being rat snakes since they’re arboreal and like to climb.

“Plumbing exhaust vents need coverage on them,” he said.

How do venomous and non-venomous snake brumation differ?

No, not typically.

Most snakes have the same type of hiding places, from copperheads to rattlesnakes, Kennedy said. If someone was to come across a snake in brumation they may appear sluggish, but will still be plenty dangerous.

If people have questions on if a snake is venomous or not, they can text an image to Dallas Fort Worth Wildlife Control at 817-606-7607.