Northern Brown Snake, release?

Asked January 19, 2017, 10:18 AM EST

Hello. Found a northern brown snake at work. Would like to release it back into the wild but I'm concerned that it is too cold for a cold blooded animal and it will not have time to find a good place to hibernate before becoming too lethargic. I should state that the temperatures are supposed to go no lower than 40 degrees F starting at 11am tomorrow for five consecutive days. It is supposed to rain, though. Any suggestions? Keep him in a terrarium until spring? Let him go tomorrow afternoon? Definitely want to give the guy a good shot at thriving! Thanks! Pic attached.

Lehigh County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Thank you for your question. If it were me, I would keep the snake in a small aquarium until spring, before releasing it. As you state in your question, it may not have time to find a suitable place to hibernate before the weather gets too cold.

You can keep it in a covered 5-gallon aquarium, and use paper towels for bedding. Make sure to include something for the snake to hide in or under. You can purchase a "hide" from stores that provide reptile-related cages and supplies, or use a large slab of tree bark or a small clay flower pot with a piece broken out of it to allow the snake to get inside. Include a small dish for water. This species feeds primarily on earthworms, slugs and snails. If you have a bait store in your area, you should be able to purchase worms to provide as food. If you keep the aquarium in your home, and you keep the temperature at least in the mid- to upper-60's the snake should be fine. If you let the temperature drop below that, you probably need to provide a source of heat for the aquarium, like a heat lamp.

Hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.