Snakes rarely live in groups but sometimes they hibernate in groups.
Snakes are very solitary by nature. They tend to be very afraid of one another. They generally only come together to mate.
A group of snakes may be seen in the wild only if there is adequate room and supplies for all of them. However, it is possible to find some snakes hunting and hibernating in a group on some occasions.
Why Snakes Don’t Live In Groups
Snakes have evolved to be afraid of one another. Furthermore, for the vast majority of species, their mother doesn’t raise them, so they are alone from birth.
Therefore, they’re not socialized to be around one another.
Even snakes of the same species do not coexist because they can eat each other. They often reside apart but in a vast geographical region.
Snakes that enjoy rocks will dwell near rocks; water snakes will live near water, and green snakes will reside in your yard or flower beds. However, you are unlikely to locate a large number of them in a small area such as your yard.
Therefore, snakes are typically solitary creatures. They do not live in families. They will meet during mating season, which occurs in the South West from October to December.
They, however, do have a home range that they roam about according to the seasons and might overlap with other snakes and animals.
Why Are Some Snakes Found Together?
Snakes are seldom encountered in groups. During the winter, snakes may assemble to brumate. This sort of behavior is also seen in bats and marmots.
Snakes will gather together in a cave or beneath rocks to survive the winter months, storing energy until food becomes more available in the spring. Brumating animals stay awake yet lie motionless to preserve energy.
Most people assume that snakes can care for themselves from the minute they are born or deposit the egg. However, many snakes defend their nests and young ones.
For instance, rattlesnake families stay together until the young lose their skin for the first time. This usually occurs seven to fourteen days after birth.
And it doesn’t stop there in the few species. Timber rattlesnake juveniles and adult females congregate with their relatives more closely at communal dens and rookeries.
As previously stated, snakes do not nurse their young because they lack the physical capacity to do so; nonetheless, certain species do. When a python lays eggs, it wraps its tongue over them and shivers them. This shivering will allow them to get warmth from their mother.
Aside from the python, another example is the king cobra. It has been observed that when it comes to nursing the young, the king cobra has a specific position in the same. At first, they construct a four-foot nest. When the nest is completed, she places the eggs at the bottom and then sits on top. She sits on the eggs to both protect and nurture them.
On the other hand, the flying snake dwells in groups of 6-7 snakes. This snake is quite friendly with other snakes of its kind, but it fights males. Some snakes hunt in groups to improve their chances of acquiring prey. Under some circumstances, two snakes can live together, such as two female corn snakes and garter snakes.
Types of Snakes That Den In Groups
1. Garter Snakes
Garter snakes are unusual because they are more social than other kinds. They hibernate together throughout winter.
Garter snakes that reside in cold climates hibernate throughout the winter. They congregate in big groups and hibernate in underground caves. Garter snake clusters can be in hundreds. They will travel long distances to their communal den to hibernate.
Garter snakes are difficult to recognize. They come in a range of hues, but most of them have three stripes going down their bodies. The color of each snake, as well as its stripes, is determined by its species.
Some species feature elaborate patterns as well as stripes, which distinguishes them.
Garter snakes are tiny, ranging in size from 23 to 30 inches. They have been reported to grow to five feet long in exceptional situations. They are typically stout-bodied, with a ridge running down the center of their back.
Rattlesnakes are venomous reptiles primarily recognized for their unusual and noisy adaption.
Though the rattlesnake may hiss, it moves one step beyond warning sounds. This snake has hollow rattles on the tip of the tail that it shakes to produce a rattling sound. The clatter of this snake serves as a warning signal to prospective predators, alerting them to keep off and earning it the name “rattler.”
Rattlesnakes in the far north utilize a unique method to survive the long, harsh winters: they congregate in large numbers that can be in hundreds. Snakes may go back to the same cave every year, even gathering with other species. For instance, it is not unusual to see a non-venomous racer snake next to the rattlers in the spring.
Copperheads are medium-sized snakes ranging from 0.6 to 0.9 meters and have distinctively patterned bodies.
Their dorsal pattern consists of a succession of dark, reddish-brown, or chestnut-brown cross bands formed like an hourglass, saddlebag, or dumbbell, on a lighter brown, pinkish, tan, or salmon backdrop.
They are gregarious snakes that hibernate in communal dens with fellow copperheads and other species like black rat snakes and timber rattlesnakes. Every year, they like to go back to the same den.
These snakes can be found near denning, sunbathing, courting, mating, feeding, and drinking together. Males are hostile during the breeding seasons in the spring and fall. They will attempt to overwhelm one other and perhaps pin each other to the ground.
Snakes That Hunt In Packs
Snakes don’t hunt in groups like wolves or communicate like wild dogs. Thus a large number of snakes congregating in one area does not necessarily indicate that they are coordinating. However, there may be one exception.
1. Cuban Boas
The Cuban boa is one of the bigger boa species. They have limited vision and must depend on their tongues to sense the atmosphere. The flicking tongue collects minute fragrance particles in the air, which are carried to the Jacobson’s organ, which is located on the roof of the mouth and is responsible for decoding odors.
The Cuban boa is the island’s most incredible natural terrestrial predator. Cuba also has bat-filled caverns where small groups of boas chase bats as they fly in and out of the cave.
Their hunting tactics include hiding in tiny pit-like holes that border the ceiling and walls near the cave’s entrance. They dangle from the cave ceiling, waiting for the bats to fly by on their daily trek into the cave, giving them a significant advantage.
The snakes also position themselves to create a barrier or fence around the preys’ hideout. This improves their hunting efficiency drastically.
Can Snakes Be Housed Together?
Combining two snakes, such as a pair of males or two snakes of various sizes, might be dangerous. This is because snakes such as kingsnakes usually eat other snakes.
Housing two snakes together might save resources, reduce cleaning, and maximize space use. The issue is that snakes are not social animals and view one another as threats.
Also, snakes kept in the same cage are more prone to share parasites and illnesses.
However, two snakes can coexist under some circumstances, such as female corn snakes. However, this is only true in particular instances, and even then, you must observe some rules to avoid fighting. It might also be challenging to determine when and which snakes are unwell.
Snakes can only be housed together if they are the same size. If the two snakes are different sizes, one will dominate the other. They’ll take the smaller snake’s food, push them away from good basking sites, and overall make their lives miserable.
Snakes like to be alone and will only be found together if the situation necessitates, for example, when hibernating or mating. Nonetheless, several snake species such as timber rattlesnakes have been observed to cater to their young and form somewhat of a ‘family bond.’ Others such as the Cuban boas have evolved to hunt in pairs.
Joe is a freelance writer for FaunaFacts. Joe has written extensively about snakes for the site, but also contributes content about a range of animals.