Snakes have adapted to harsh, unwelcoming environments throughout the globe. You’ll find them in grasslands, rocky mountain habitats, deserts, rainforests, and the ocean. Over there are only a couple of places the snakes don’t live.

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Snakes adapt to the desert by using light brown or grey camouflage to mix in through their surroundings. They’ve adapted to the temperature by finding out to burrow in dens to shelter from warm temperatures. They likewise brumate (hibernate) throughout the harsh and also cold winter months.

These line adaptations to your environment permit them come live in the desert, however life is never ever easy. Populaces are smaller sized than in less excessive environments, favor forests. The a testament to their hardy nature that snakes have the right to live in the hottest, harshest habitats top top earth.


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Contents hide
1 just how Does a Snake adapt to that is Surroundings?
1.1 Adaptations come Temperature
1.2 Adaptations to prey
1.3 Adaptations to shade (Snake Camouflage)
1.4 Adaptations come Humidity (Lack of Rain)
1.5 Snakes that Camouflage in The Desert
1.5.1 Sidewinder Rattlesnake
1.5.2 Gopher line
1.5.3 Glossy line

How go a Snake adapt to its Surroundings?

Snakes must blend in with their environment. Due to the fact that they don’t have limbs to defend themselves with, many snakes require patterns and colors (camouflage) that enable them to hide native predators.

Besides that, they additionally have to adapt to the temperature and humidity of your environment, and also the prey that’s top top offer. Let’s take a closer look at exactly how snakes survive in the desert.

Adaptations come Temperature

The very first of many snake adaptations in the desert is to perform with temperature. The excessive temperature sport of the desert placed snakes and other pets that live there under substantial pressure.

It’s hot during the day, yet it have the right to be freeze cold at night. Moreover, while that as hot as hot have the right to be throughout summer, winter are fairly bitter. This necessitates behavior changes in desert snakes.

Rattlesnakes are terrific example. During the hot summer months, they end up being more energetic at night and also less active during the day. Due to the fact that they can’t manage their body heat, the temperature is life-threatening.

In the spring and fall, once temperatures are more reasonable, castle especially energetic during the day and seem come sleep at night instead.

Then, as soon as winter rolls around, desert rattlesnakes brumate because that the winter. They have dens dubbed hibernacula, which space naturally occurring holes or gaps in stone.

Depending ~ above the size of the hole, sometimes dozens of rattlesnakes deserve to share the den in ~ once. They usage these dens come escape the intense desert sun once it’s too hot, and avoid freeze temperatures when it’s as well cold.

Adaptations to Prey

Desert snakes have to gain used to the minimal prey on offer approximately them. They do so by eat a large diet.

Mojave rattlesnakes greatly eat small lizards and also rodents which are surprisingly usual in the desert. They will eat the following:

Kangaroo ratsLizards choose Mojave desert iguanas, western banded geckos, and also banded rock lizardsCarrion (i.e. Pets that have already died)Lizards, birds, or line eggs

These type of food aren’t unique to deserts. Hill regions, grasslands, and forest areas all save rats, eggs and other snakes, because that a start.

Their carrion-eating behavior is an example of exactly how being in the desert pressures snakes to it is adapted their diet, though.

Adaptations to color (Snake Camouflage)

Most snakes have camouflage. Take it the west diamondback rattlesnake, the snake that’s responsible for the many fatal line bites in the U.S. This snake lives in the south-west, from Texas to California, and also down south to Mexico too.

They’re a dusty gray and also brown color, with white, black color or brown blotches all follow me their body. Once they lie in the dry grass or ~ above the forest floor the their natural habitat, they’re hard to spot.

They need to be camouflaged so the nobody have the right to see them. The less visible lock are, the more difficult it is because that predators favor birds of prey to uncover them.

Not just that, yet rattlesnakes practice ambush hunting. This method that they lie in wait for prey to come to them. The harder they space to see, the much more likely that prey will certainly come close sufficient for them to strike.


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The sidewinder rattlesnake has adjusted its color and also pattern come the desert. The a dusty, dusky grey and also cream color. It has light brown patches follow me its body, and its underside is white.

Its color and also pattern aid it blend right into their desert habitat, which is dark and also sandy. Come camouflage us further, they also burrow under the sand come lie in wait for their favorite prey, lizards.

Adaptations come Humidity (Lack of Rain)

One that the points that everyone knows around deserts is the absence of rain. Fortunately, rattlesnakes—in fact, virtually all snakes—have emerged adaptations that permit them to make it through with very small water. That all down to exactly how they conserve and use it.

When us go come the toilet, we remove lots of water. Snakes, by contrast, room much an ext efficient v the fluids castle eat and also drink.

They nothing excrete urine in the same method that humans do. As soon as they do, they eliminate a tiny amount each time. Instead, they store the water in their device to use when they require it.

Because castle so effective with water, snakes hardly ever drink. It’s unclear how and also why they drink therefore little, especially because they don’t get a net get of liquid from eating.

According come the Journal of speculative Biology, line drink much more after they eat rather than before, saying that they suffer a net loss of fluid as a result of eat prey. This shows that human being who think they obtain most of their water native prey might be wrong.

So, where do they uncover water? Well, periodically it does rain in the desert. As soon as it does, they’ll take advantage by easily drinking some of the collected raindrops.

Snakes don’t prefer to drink from tho water or streams. They choose to drink tiny raindrops, which are fresher and cleaner. They’ll likewise drink the morning dew if over there is any.

According come The Southwestern Naturalist, part desert snake have even learned to flatten their bodies to collect rainwater and also then drink that.

Snakes the Camouflage in The Desert

Some snakes live exclusively in the desert. Others deserve to live in a variety of environments, from rocky plains high above sea level come grasslands and deserts, and also everywhere in between.

Sidewinder Rattlesnake

The sidewinder rattlesnake is named due to the method it moves. Sidewinding is a unique technique of movement, to exclude, to just a couple of species that snake. It’s an adaptation come their environment that researchers are only just beginning to understand.

Sidewinding is a little like galloping, in a way. The snake bops up and down, bouncing a small off the ground, as soon as they reach peak speeds.

Essentially, the head thrusts forward and ‘grabs’ ~ above the ground. The tail then moves up behind, v the rest of the body organized in a loop behind the head. The line then straightens out the coil by moving their head outwards, nearly like the to mark mechanism.


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Why execute sidewinder rattlesnakes move the means that castle do? It help them move regardless of the very loosened surface that the sand. Yet even more importantly, it stop them from overheating.

Because just two point out of the snake are in call with the ground, they don’t absorb together much warmth from the scorching desert sand.

Gopher Snake

The gopher snake is California’s most usual snake. You can uncover them almost everywhere aside from the high mountainous regions in the Sierra Nevada.

To store out the the summer sun, lock hide in pre-made rodent burrows or under rocks, logs, or anything rather they can find.

Their pattern helps them blend in anywhere, together it’s a mix the browns, whites, blacks, and also creams. Here some fun facts around the gopher snake.

Glossy Snake

Glossy snakes look at a lot prefer gopher snakes, although they’re shinier and their colors are a little much more faded. To resolve the heat of the Mojave Desert, they’ve become primarily nocturnal.

They’re mostly inactive throughout the day, and also spend your time concealed in rocky outcrops wherein they can acquire some shade.

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If possible, they like to burrow in the loosened sandy floor to cool under too. They’re happy eating every sorts that desert lizards favor iguanas and also zebra-tailed lizards, definition that they’re best at home, also in one arid desert.