Cold Weather Snake Care

Do you have a snake? If so, you’ll need to take extra care with your reptilian buddy at this time of year. Cold weather can be dangerous for any animal, but it’s particularly concerning for reptiles. A Oconomowoc, WI vet offers some tips on this below.

Cold Blooded

As you probably know, reptiles don’t generate any body heat. This means they don’t have to eat very often, as their bodies don’t need as much fuel to keep running. However, they can get very sick in cold weather. Being cold for too long can be fatal for them.

Heating Equipment

Heat lamps and pads are the most efficient ways to keep your pet’s home warm. Unless you’re using top-grade ones, avoid using heat rocks, though, as they can cause burns and even fires.


Substrate isn’t enough to keep your pet warm in and of itself, but it can help. Cypress mulch or coconut fiber are both good options for snakes that like to dig and burrow.


Glass and plastic don’t hold heat in very well. If your snake’s home is in a cold room, you may want to consider insulating your pet’s tank. Cork or foam boards are good options.


Fresh air is also important to snakes. Without proper ventilation, your reptilian buddy could develop a respiratory infection, which would be very dangerous.

Warning Signs

It’s also important to know what warning signs to look for. Some of the key ones include lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, anorexia, and vomiting. There are also a few behavioral clues, such as constantly burrowing or staying under basking lights. Call your vet right away if you notice any of these warning signs.

Power Outages

What happens if the power goes out? This can be quite dangerous for your scaled pal! We recommend getting a backup source of power for your pet’s tank, such as a small generator. One thing you can do to warm up your snake is to handle it. Your body temperature is 98 degrees, which is definitely enough to help warm your pet up. Of course, this isn’t a good long-term option, as snakes get distressed from being held too long. You can also put a warm hot-water bottle or a heated rice sock in your pet’s tank.

Do you have questions about snake care? Contact us, your Oconomowoc, WI animal clinic, today!

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