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Q: Is it okay to brumate younger male kings and corns?
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So I took my adult colubrids off their heat and they will be ready to be put in their cold room in a couple of days. I am excited to have three months of less work and to save a bit of money on feeders and electric bills.

I was considering putting my younger male kings and corns in brumation as well to save more on money, time and work.  I plan to keep heating and feeding my babies and yearlings, but brumating my two year old males. I don't plan to breed them because I feel that their female counterparts are not big enough to breed this season.

Is there any reason I should not put my 2 year old colubrid males in brumation? Will it cause any problems?

It would be mainly to save money on feeders, electricity and work, not to cycle them for breeding.

Let me know what you think.


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Member Comment 10/30/2011 9:25:19 PM


It's so safe, even a baby could do it. I mean, brumation isn't without it's risks no matter what age the snake is, but still. I'm confident enough that I'll even be brumating my babies this year. I did it last year with almost no trouble.

Member Comment 10/30/2011 9:42:02 PM


If anything  it puts them on a scedual for next years breedings

Author Comment 10/30/2011 10:22:35 PM


To Nate- 'Almost no trouble'?!

My cold room is actually my furnace closet that opens to the outside (its an old house). It does not have heating vents in it, but it houses the water heater and furnace so it does not get too cold, but much colder then the house.

I brumated my adults last year in it with no problems. When I leave the door completely shut in the dead of NC winter the coldest it got was 65 F the warmest was 73 F. I put a chain on the door so I could keep it open a crack (but not let it get blown open) and not let stray cats in and it dropped the temps to 55 F in the middle of the night in the dead of winter. The high was 65 F. Still safe for younger kings, corns, hognoses and bulls- even babies?

Member Comment 10/30/2011 10:33:49 PM


Hence my saying, brumation isn't without it's risks. The first loss was an adult female, Champagne. She passed 2 days before Christmas. She never settled in, instead choosing to waste all her energy looking for warmth and food. She was the only adult lost, and technically the only snake lost during brumation. I lost a yearling male a couple weeks after brumation ended. He refused food and died. And a baby a month after brumation ended. She came out, ate, shed, regurged, and died. Honestly, I don't know whether or not the last 2 could be blamed on brumation, but I'm pretty sure.

My adults were in the dining room with the dog door. The coldest night temp was in the 40s. The babies were in a closet. The coldest night temp was 60.

I say do it. Brumate them all. But watch them. If you see anyone who is restless, or generally looks distressed (as distressed as a snake can look), then pull them and warm them up. It's up to you. But think about this, they would do it in nature. It's not like they have time shares in Florida for the winter.

Also, I certainly won't leave the babies in the cold for as long as the adults. I might go 6 weeks (8 total w/o food) vs. the 8 weeks that the adults go. January 1st, everyone gets fed.

Member Comment 10/31/2011 3:32:15 AM

Chad A Edwards

I was also seriously considering brumating all my North American adult coulubrids. I just wasn't sure about the babies. I still think I'll hold off on brumating them until next year. They range in age from 18 months to two months. Is it really worth the risk to brumate a baby at that age?

Member Comment 10/31/2011 6:21:10 AM


Is it worth the risk? I think most people would say no. But I'm not most people. Like I said, they do it in nature, so they will do it here. I don't believe in only brumating adults for breeding purposes. And if one of my snakes doesn't get to breed until it's 4 because I didn't feed them year round for the first 2 years then I'm OK with that.

Author Comment 10/31/2011 8:15:39 AM


I am now leaning towards brumating all my North American colubrid snakes that are over a year old as well including the females. I still would rather be on the safe side for the babies and keep them on eats and heats.

Member Comment 10/31/2011 11:55:39 AM


It's definitely possible. They brumate every year in nature.

Member Comment 10/31/2011 12:12:07 PM


Yes, they do it in the wild, no reason to, but really no reason not to.  I prefer not to just cause I like to keep them feeding and growing, but that's up to you.

Accepted Answer 10/31/2011 3:26:03 PM


This is a great discussion.  And as with all great questions, there's probably not just one correct answer.  To address your specific question though about safety and potential problems, Nate is right that it's pretty safe but it does come with risks.  And as Shannon said, they most certainly do it in the wild (although "overwintering mortality" is much higher in nature than in captivity).  Some snakes that won't feed post-hatching will often brumate and "wake up" feisty and ready to feed; the seasonal cycle almost seems necessary to stimulate their appetite.  Fun fact...

Anyway, yes you can overwinter them pretty safely, but occasionally you'll have an animal that won't wake up.  This can happen when brumating adults too.  Causes could include inadequate body weight, suboptimal brumation temperatures, chronic dehydration, inadequate hibernacula, other underlying stressors and disease, or some combination of all these (among probably other causes too).

If you choose to brumate, I always recommend that you install an electronic space heater that will kick on and off at pre-programable temperatures (totally worth the $40 investment!).  Be sure that your animals are of an appropriate body condition prior to brumation.  And, perhaps most importantly, be sure you fast your animals for two weeks or so -- wait to see those poops! -- before slowly bringing them to winter temperatures.

This probably is a more "natural" way to maintain our animals and you can usually brumate young animals without a problem. But Mother Nature can be a real wench sometimes so take every precaution you can!

Member Comment 10/31/2011 4:00:34 PM


A lot of people don't brumate their non-adults for that exact reason, they don't want to miss out on 2 or 3 months of potential grow time. And that is all fine and dandy, I guess, but I don't really agree with it. It seems like most people only brumate because of breeding. I find that silly. They do it in nature, which is why I do it. I think it's better for them, although I have no concrete data to support this. And brumating babies gets them used to it, so when pre-breeding brumation actually happens, they already know what's up.

Member Comment 10/31/2011 6:59:03 PM


I plan on brumating my five adult corns this year for the first time. I have a question about it as well. Since it is my first time brumating them does that mean I have to put them in another less active room in the house? Or can I keep them in my bedroom and just turn the temps down with their heating pads/and cover them up with black bed sheets to give them the darkness they need for brumating? 

Member Comment 10/31/2011 7:02:07 PM


You should put them where it is going to be cold and kinda dark. And no heatpads. If that means moving them to another room then so be it.

Member Comment 10/31/2011 7:02:22 PM


Also, because I'm not going to be cold in my room when I sleep would it be okay to run the heater in the bedroom while sleeping, on low? Cause I noticed it does get warm in there at night. And I know the brumating temps should be around 45-65 degrees right? I figured since the glass of the terrariums stay pretty chilly/cold the bottom of the terr. would stay colder as well which would surfice for the right temps to be where they need to be. Even if the air temp in the room is warmer it should still be okay, correct?

Member Comment 10/31/2011 7:04:20 PM


You ideally want them sub 60 degrees, so no, I don't think you're room is going to work.

Member Comment 10/31/2011 7:05:51 PM


I think I can do it this way. I would check on them once a week to make sure things are in order. I know I will eventually turn the heat pads off completely. I fed my adults their last meals last night, and will wait two weeks so they can have a chance to digest everything properly. Then turn the heat off.

Member Comment 10/31/2011 7:09:28 PM


The problem with trying to keep them cool and you warm is that it will mess with the snakes' systems. You will end up with a sick snake.

Member Comment 10/31/2011 7:14:21 PM


Okay, i'll have to switch rooms somehow....yikes!

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