Where do copperheads in SC go when temps drop? It may be closer than you think

Those baby copperheads born in midsummer are already joining their parents and snake friends in the run-up to winter, the time when copperheads seemingly disappear.

But do they?

For now the long sunny South Carolina days suit them just fine and as the state’s most common venomous snake it’s likely if you’re out and about in forests and even in your garden, chances are at some point you’re going to see one.

Unlike the warm, even hot, days of summer, you will likely not see them at night since they are cold-blooded and unable to regulate their body temperature.

They are active through November. But after that they go into what’s called brumation, a period of sluggishness reptiles go through in cold weather, similar to hibernation in mammals like bears.

The South Carolina Aquarium says on its website, “During brumation, reptiles don’t fall into total slumber but still have periods of activity. Though they do not eat, they continue to drink to avoid dehydration.

They rest.

Where do they go to brumate?

In your attic. Or car engines. Sheds.

Outside, they burrow underground or crawl into leaf piles or tree stumps.

Any place that is warm and enclosed.

They get into your house through vents, cracks.

What about toilets, you ask?

Yes, a snake can come up into your house through your toilet. But before you freak, it is not common, according to the website How Stuff Works. They actually use the term extraordinarily unlikely.

That doesn’t mean never.

The New York Post reported that in August 2020, a Texas man videotaped a snake in his toilet bowl and in 2010 a man reported a snake in a toilet on the 19th floor of a New York City building, How Stuff Works reported.

Hoaxes? No, experts say, but very unusual.

Many times they get in through bathroom vents on your roof. Think about that. Not only in the toilet but on the roof. Hmmm.

Mallory Maher, Natural Resources Extension Associate at Clemson University, says on the university’s Home and Garden website, the best thing to do to keep snakes away is not make it easy on them.

Don’t pile up brush. Snakes like firewood stacks. Keep them away from your house. Rodents like that stuff, too, and guess who eats rodents?

“You cannot blame a snake for moving into perfect habitat where all its needs are met,” she said.

Remember you probably walk by snakes more often than you see them.

And herpetologists resoundingly say leave them alone. They want to see you less than you want to see them. They will soon be on their snakey way.