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Hungry Snakes

Happy Ramadan!

As millions of people around the world prepare for a month of daily fasting, there are also many female rattlesnakes in BC that are going to be fasting for quite a while too - during pregnancy, they may not eat for months at a time!

After emerging from hibernation, female rattlesnakes are already pregnant (or "gravid") from having mated in the fall. While they are gravid, they hardly move around at all and therefore have very little opportunity to hunt unless prey happens to come close, which does not happen often. This means that on top of their 6 month fast in winter hibernation, they will likely end up not eating for weeks at a time in the warmer seasons as well. Then, after birthing their young in the late summer/early fall, they have only a tiny window of time to find food as they need to head back to their dens again for hibernation!

This extreme reduction in food means female rattlesnakes here in BC only reproduce every 3-4 years or so, as it takes them a very long time to regain their strength. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to be Snake Smart and reduce human-rattlesnake conflict as much as possible - they have a hard enough time as it is!

Bonus: How many rattlesnakes are in the photo above? Scroll down for the answer! (Hint - there are more than 3)

There are SEVEN rattlesnakes in the photo! Contrary to popular belief, rattlesnakes are extremely shy and use their camouflage pattern to blend into their surroundings in order to avoid interacting with you unless you bother them. This is why its so important to look carefully where you are putting your hands and feet when participating in outdoor recreation activities.


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