What Temperature Is Too Cold For Snakes?

Did you know there are over 3,000 species of snake, but not one of them is found on the continent of Antarctica?

Snakes are cold-blooded creatures, and although the name may suggest these reptiles are fans of the cold weather, it’s the opposite.

Snakes need the sun and heat for energy, which are lacking in Antarctica.

If you are thinking about getting a pet snake, you should be fine as long as you aren’t in Antarctica.

However, you should still consider this question:

What temperature is too cold for snakes?

The coldest temperature a snake will survive in is 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18°C). Anything lower, and there is a good chance the snake will not survive.

Here’s a table to help you out:

Snake Species Ambient TemperatureBasking Spot Temperature
Boa Constrictor75 °F90 °F
Indian Rock Python75 °F90 °F
Corn Snake75 °F85 °F
Common Kingsnake75 °F85 °F
Black Rat Snake75 °F90 °F
Racer Snake75 °F90 °F
Western Hognose Snake78 °F88 °F
Northern Brown Snake75 °F90 °F
Common Garter Snake75 °F90 °F
Gopher Snake75 °F85 °F

Read on to learn how snakes adapt to the cold.

what temperature is too cold for snakes

Snakes And The Cold

Generally speaking, snakes are easy-going reptiles and don’t require much.

They eat little food, are self-sufficient, and mainly keep to themselves.

However, when it comes to their climate, snakes are very fickle.

If a snake isn’t lucky enough to live in warm weather year-round, it will engage in the following practices to adjust to the colder temperatures it may experience:

Brumation

When a snake faces extreme cold weather, it may go into a state of brumation.

Snakes will sleep for an extended period like hibernation, and their bodily functions will slow dramatically.

This phase will ensure the snake survives the harsh temperatures since there is no heat for the cold-blooded reptile to absorb.

Huddling

A snake will also huddle when it is cold out.

This may be a solitary huddle when the snake curls up into a ball or a communal huddle when several snakes curl up together.

Interestingly enough, a communal huddle will usually involve multiple species of snake.

The shared goal amongst all these reptiles is preventing heat and energy loss. 

Burrowing

snake burrowing

You may also notice a snake burrowing into the ground.

Although this is a common practice among snakes, even in warm weather, burrowing protects the snake in cold weather.

The snake will protect itself from the freezing temperatures and elements above ground by digging into the ground.

This is also why snakes cannot survive where the ground is frozen year-round, such as in Antarctica.

If a snake cannot burrow into the ground, it will not survive the colder temperatures.

Snakes And The Sun

Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles, and as mentioned above, they rely on the sun and the heat it provides for energy.

If a snake cannot absorb sunlight through its skin, its body will eventually deteriorate.

Find out the many benefits a snake enjoys, just from the right amount of sun exposure. 

Proper Bodily Functions

Snakes need a constant amount of sunlight to ensure their bodily functions work correctly.

Although they cannot be in the sun 24 hours a day, an adequate amount of sunlight and heat will help snakes with their digestion, metabolism, and other vital processes.

Healthy Amount Of Vitamin D

Like humans, snakes turn ultraviolet light from the sun into vitamin D.

This vitamin is essential to a snake’s survival since it helps keep its bones healthy and metabolism high.

Despite its extreme flexibility, a single snake has hundreds of bones—all the more reason for it to produce as much vitamin D as possible.

Read on to learn how to provide the perfect temperature for your pet snake.

Providing A Proper Home

Snakes make excellent roommates, and they don’t ask for much in return.

The only thing a snake requires is an ideal, climate-controlled environment.

If you are thinking about getting a pet snake, here are some easy ways to ensure your snake never gets too cold.

Install A Terrarium Thermometer

thermometer for snake enclosure 1

When setting up your snake’s living space, it’s vital to install a terrarium thermometer.

This will ensure the temperature never dips below 65° degrees Farhenheit (18.3° C), which we now know is a snake’s freezing point, and stays within the 80-90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C) range.

Additionally, this type of thermometer will ensure the humidity is ideal for the snake.

A humid environment will prevent the snake from becoming dehydrated, as it will absorb the moisture from the air around it. 

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Provide Proper Ground Cover

Since burrowing is common among snakes, it is essential to provide your pet snake with ground cover.

Hopefully, they will not have to resort to this activity because they are too cold since your terrarium thermometer should be working correctly.

Still, it is also a way to cool off and protect themselves.

Substrate, a blend of aspen and Cyprus shavings, is a common choice to line the bottom of a snake’s living space.

This is because it is all-natural and soft enough to the point where they can tunnel underneath.

Invest In UVB Lighting

uvb light for snake terrarium

To provide snakes with the perfect environment, ensuring the temperature and terrarium mimic what they are used to in the wild isn’t enough.

We know the sun not only provides snakes with heat but also with vitamin D.

They will not get this indoors, but a UVB light will emit these rays.

A snake will absorb and process ultraviolet light as they would outdoors, ensuring they maintain healthy bones and bodily functions.

Snakes don’t need UVB, but experts say it may help their health. 

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Conclusion

Cold-blooded creatures require precise conditions for survival which is why you must know what temperature is too cold for snakes.

These animals cannot produce energy internally, so the environment is critical to their well-being.

We know snakes are no exception, and if the temperature falls below 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18.3° C), chances of survival are low.

If you are in the market for a pet snake, you now have all the information you need to provide it with the right home.

As long as you keep the thermostat high, you should be well on your way to a happy, healthy snake.

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