Suppose someone asked us which animal predators we should look out for during Idaho winters. In that case, we'd go with wolves and mountain lions. You probably would, too.

But what if we told you one of Idaho's most lethal reptilian predators was also on the table?  

Rattlesnakes & Idaho Winter

"Rattlesnake bites in winter? Isn't that something we only worry about in the warmer months?" Well, yes and no.

It's common knowledge that rattlesnakes tend to hibernate during Idaho's colder months. Idaho Fish & Game notes their tendency to snuggle in groups inside cozy dens/burrows to wait out the winter weather. Still, it's not impossible to see one slithering about the foothills after the first snowfall.

What happens if you disturb a rattlesnake den in winter?

In short, we'd hate to be that unlucky guy or gal who disturbs a den slumbering rattlesnakes. 

Sort of like sleep-deprived parents, aka every parent in our office, rattlesnakes aren't terrific morning people...or winter people. When they're forced out of their hibernation spot because of a disturbance or desperation for food, you can bet they'll be hangry.

We don't blame 'em. Imagine waking up from a deep sleep to find yourself in a whole new and frozen world. That level of confusion coupled with the fact that they're freezing their @$$e$ off, could make them lash out with a bite. Once again, we don't blame 'em. 

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How common are rattlesnake bites in winter?

Because it's uncommon for them to be active once temps dip below 55°F, rattler encounters are rare but not unheard of in Gem State winters. 

That said, Reptile Knowledge says it's still important to watch your step if you're traversing the foothills or dry brush in the winter months; especially around known snake habitats.

If you do stumble across a den of rattlers, back up! Give them their space and get gone like there's no tomorrow, friend 😳 

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