Snakes and Roads

Snakes are cold blooded creatures so they need to warm up to get enough energy before a night of hunting.  In their natural environments they often use exposed rock areas or open areas of bare earth for their heat needs.  They will lie still on a heated surface until they are ready to go.  Unfortunately paved and gravel roads seem to meet this need in snakes perfectly.  They are often drawn to road surfaces because these surfaces absorb heat and retain it well after sunset.  At dusk it is common to see snakes using the shoulders of roads for this.

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It seems that I’ve come across more snakes hit by cars in recent months than normal.  I’m not sure if this is due to the temperatures being lowish lately and the area’s snakes being more willing to warm up on roads than normal?  Maybe I have been out and about more this year and more time out = more seen?  Regardless, it seems that seeing snakes recently hit on roads has been on the rise.  I usually try to move a snake off of a road if I see one.  Lately, it seems that every time I  stop, it’s too late.

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A gorgeous Great Basin Gopher Snake dazed on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway near Wallachin.  It was clearly alive but bleeding from its mouth.  I moved it to the sage and hoped it recovered.
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A very recently killed Common Garter Snake on Greenstone Mountain Road.  I stopped to move it off the road but was too late.  Food for a Raven in the area but still sad.
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A flattened Western Terrestrial Garter Snake in Knutsford

It’s always sad to see roadkill.  There is another article on this site that discusses wildlife fences but it’s difficult to keep snakes off roads.

Other things use or cross roads as well.

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Painted Turtles cross roads as well
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A Western Toad on the road

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