We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Where do Snakes Live?

By Amy Hunter
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

There are well over 3,000 known species of snakes in the world, with the number increasing as new ones are discovered. Geographically speaking, they are found in all the continents except Antarctica, but they are absent from a number of islands, including Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, and New Zealand. Snakes live in a wide variety of habitats, but are restricted in their distribution because, like other reptiles, they are cold-blooded and therefore have less control over their body temperatures than mammals. A snake must regulate its temperature by seeking out warmer or cooler conditions, as required. In regions with cold winters, snakes will go into a kind of hibernation in autumn, seeking out suitable frost-free places to keep warm.

Distribution

The majority of snakes live in tropical climates. Mammals, such as humans, can regulate their body temperatures internally, but snakes are dependent on their environment for maintaining a suitable temperature. When they get too hot, they move into the shade, and when they are too cool, they move into a sunny area. It is easier for them to live in areas where the temperature does not drop below 50°F (10°C), and, although they can survive at temperatures close to freezing point, they are not thought to be able to survive if their body temperatures drop below freezing. They are more efficient in warm weather, and in tropical areas, they can be active throughout the year.

Surviving the Winter

Snakes that live in temperate climates undergo a kind of hibernation known as brumation in the winter. In this state, the reptile remains awake, but inactive. It does not need to eat, and can survive many months without food, but it will emerge from time to time to drink water.

While in brumation, it will mostly remain hidden in a place that is protected from frost. These may be hollow tree trunks or stumps, caves, burrows within soil or sand, or under piles of leaves. Often, decaying organic matter in these places will give out some heat, keeping the temperature above freezing point. Sometimes a snake will share a hiding place with many others: this helps to keep temperatures up. In populated areas, snakes may occasionally venture into human dwellings or other buildings, such as huts, sheds or garages, or into piles of rubbish or garden waste, with a view to spending the winter there.

Habitats and Adaptations

Snakes have adapted to a variety of very different habitats. They can live in forests, prairies, deserts or even bodies of water, but will typically be found where there is an ample supply of food, such as rodents, small reptiles, birds and frogs. Snakes eat their food whole and often while it is still alive. While some types — for example, boa constrictors — will squeeze their prey to death before eating it, most unhinge their jaw and swallow their prey alive. A snake’s teeth are pointed backward, which prevents the live prey from darting out of the snake’s mouth before it swallows.

At first glance, it would seem that all snakes are built the same way, just in different sizes and colors; however, on closer examination, differences in body plan can be found, determined by the environment in which the snakes live. In tropical forest areas, many species live in trees, and these tend to have relatively long, slender bodies, suitable for wrapping around branches. Those that spend most of their time on the ground are more compact, with bodies made for burrowing. Snakes that live near water often have a flattened shape that helps them swim efficiently.

Snakes and People

Snakes often inspire fear in humans, but they will generally do their best to avoid people. The reptiles are very sensitive to vibration, and will respond to footsteps by quickly slithering off to a suitable hiding place. Even in areas where these creatures are common, people may never see one, and might pass very close by one without being aware of it. For people with an interest in snakes, often the best chance of observation is when one is sunning itself on open ground or a rock, to keep up its body temperature.

Venomous snakes do pose a potential hazard, but they will not attack people unless they feel threatened, and cannot escape. Snake bites are extremely unlikely when walking outdoors; the greatest risk is in disturbing a resting snake in its hiding place. In areas where venomous snakes are known to occur, caution should be exercised in reaching into natural crevices or, in populated areas, anything in which a snake might hide, such as pot, a pile of household rubbish or garden waste, or even an old boot.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
By anon329805 — On Apr 11, 2013

Do snakes live in termite colonies found in gardens?

By anon319678 — On Feb 14, 2013

Where do snakes migrate to?

By anon159841 — On Mar 13, 2011

How do they reproduce?

By anon71379 — On Mar 18, 2010

this would be better for people to read for projects if you would tell more about reptiles in general rather than just stakes because that's just unhelpful and unimportant for anyone to care about.

By anon68859 — On Mar 04, 2010

Burrows, I think?

By anon37811 — On Jul 22, 2009

what is the name of the hole in which the snakes live in?

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.