This is the time of the year snakes, such as the garter snake, are going into hibernation. All Idaho native snakes hibernate and they return to the same dens each year, according to Frank Lundburg, a snake expert, educator and conservationist in Boise.
The length of the day triggers their instinct to move in the direction of their dens. They’ll go into their dens as the temperature drops.
Lundburg says snakes will go into their dens in fall and then come out again if the temperature gets above 60 degrees. Snakes may be in their dens as early as September or as late as November.
It’s so much fun to see garter snakes along the Boise River or greenbelts throughout the valley, but you will have to wait until next spring, sometimes as early as March, to start seeing them again.
When they come out of the den in spring also depends on the weather or length of day, which can vary year to year, Lundburg says.
This Western wandering terrestrial garter snake is one of two species of garter snakes in Idaho. The other is the common garter snake.
This photo was taken along the upper Grande Ronde River in Oregon a few weeks ago.The snakes are common in the West.