While our facility is still closed to the public, our staff is hard at work coming up with a plan to re-open that best fits the needs of our Guests and staff. We are taking everything day by day, but are tentatively planning to open on June 15th.
Menu

Scales and Tales

More Rattlesnakes in the Black Hills

RattlesnakeRattlesnake


A recent question about rattlesnakes prompted us to write this post, since we figured it may be helpful to many people in the Black Hills area.

The question involved concerns that there has been an increase in the population of rattlesnakes, or that there was a nearby den of snakes that contributed to increased snake encounters and danger to children and pets.

In fact, there have been many such questions this year. In nearly 13 years here at Reptile Gardens, I have never received so many calls about rattlesnakes.

More Activity, Not Snakes


The short story is we don't have more rattlesnakes this year. We are just encountering them more frequently because both humans and snakes have been more active due to more temperate weather.

Rattlesnakes generally enjoy cooler weather. Not cold weather, but definitely cooler than some of the drought-inducing temperatures we've experienced in the last decade or so.

We've become accustomed to low snake activity in the summer because of these high temperatures. During these periods, rattlesnakes are generally more active:

- Early morning

- Late evening

- Night time

And since humans are generally the least active at these times, there's a perception of low rattlesnake activity, which implies a lower population.

So What Changed?


The last couple summers have been much cooler than previous years, so the snake's activity cycles are greatly increased. They are active on most summer days at 4pm or so, all night, and until 12 or 1pm. This leaves only a few hours of the day where they are avoiding the higher temps.

Since it hasn't been so stinkin' hot for us people too, we are out and about for longer periods of time when the snakes are also active. The result: we are seeing more snakes this year than in previous years.

So rest assured, there's no uptick in snake populations, nor is it likely there is a den close by that poses any more danger than usual. You'll simply want to be more vigilant and take some precautions against enticing snakes onto your property. We'll be writing more about that soon - stay tuned!

Back

Close

Things To Do

Main Exhibits

Shows

We are unable to offer shows for the 2020 season. Admission rates for 2020 have been reduced to reflect this change. We plan to offer our full schedule of shows for the 2021 season.

Shops

Close

Animal Facts

Snakes

Non-Snakes

Native to South Dakota

Close

Botanical Gardens

Close

About Us

Privacy Policy