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Reptiles in Winter

Juvenile Stinkpot Turtle
Matthew Friant

During the winter, squirrels are congregating in their leafy nests, birds are migrating, but what about the reptiles at Pinnacle Mountain State Park? They are entering brumation! 

Brumation is when cold-blooded animals, such as reptiles and amphibians, enter a hibernation-like state during the winter; however, they don’t sleep the whole time!
On warm days during the winter, you can find snakes, lizards, and turtles soaking up the sun on Pinnacle Mountain or on the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers. But when it gets brutally cold, snakes and lizards will be burrowed into rock crevices, rotten logs, and leaves, while aquatic turtles will be submerged in mud on the bottom of rivers and streams to help insulate themselves from the cold. 
Many reptiles won’t eat for weeks, or even months, during this time, surviving off of fat stores and an extremely low metabolism. When they emerge in mid to late March, the reptiles of Pinnacle Mountain State Park will be out and about, warming up and getting ready for the New Year!

Juvenile Banded Water Snake
Credit Matthew Friant
Juvenile Banded Water Snake (non-venomous) emerging as the temperature warms.


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