Like many of the animals we see during the warm summer months, Ontario’s native snakes aren’t built for our chilly winters. While some of Ontario’s birds, bats and butterflies are making their way down south to avoid the colder months, snakes are making their way down beneath the ground, into hibernacula. Groups of snakes will spend their winters in these caverns beneath the frost line in order to escape the icy temperatures above-ground.
Unfortunately, in urban areas, a lack of suitable hibernaculum sites can limit the size of snake populations. Some people may prefer not to see these scaly critters slithering around their yards and neighbourhood parks, but they are an important part of our ecosystems. Snakes help keep rodent populations in check, act as a food source for birds of prey and other animals and contrary to popular belief, are fairly harmless to humans. In fact, there are no venomous snakes in our watershed.
This summer, a group of high school volunteers from the Conservation Youth Corps joined CVC’s Greening Corporate Grounds team to help Brampton Memorial Gardens build a hibernaculum. The seven students got their hands dirty filling a large hole with rocks, concrete slabs and sand, designed to emulate the tunnels of a cave or old groundhog burrow that a snake would use in a natural area. This is just one of many habitat restoration projects that youth volunteers were involved in this summer.
Click here for more information about Amphibians and Reptiles living in the Credit River Watershed.
To find out more about CVC’s Conservation Youth Corps, visit creditvalleyca.ca/cyc.
Article by Katey Buchanan, Conservation Youth Corps Crew Leader