Do snakes dig holes?

Salinas snake

Snakes are not exactly what you would call great diggers, and that's because they don't have anything to use to dig with. Skunks have long and curved claws with powerful limbs. These help them to dig really well, and moles, raccoons, and plenty of other ground-dwelling creatures display similar traits. Animals that dig underground usually have something to make the job easier, but the snake has none of those things.

The snake’s body can burrow underneath certain soft surfaces. Snakes can bury themselves under the sand in the desert, and you will also find plenty of snakes hiding beneath the leaves in the jungle or rainforest. Their colorings and markings are perfect for just this, and in the deep undergrowth, there's a good chance you would never notice many snake species lying there.

That's what snakes are better known for — burying themselves in the soft ground covering, rather than actually digging it up. They are also known for stealing the dens and burrows of other animals, and taking up residence in holes and underground tunnel systems that have been abandoned. It’s actually pretty dangerous to go shoving your hands in random animal holes that you encounter in ‘the wild’. They could contain a number of furry creatures, most of which have teeth, but if you're really unlucky, you might just happen to pop your hand into an underground den that a snake has taken up residence in. You will need to seek urgent medical attention if you are bitten by a snake in a hole, especially if you can't see the snake, or can't make out the species of snake. There is a chance, although rare, that you could have been bitten by a venomous snake.

The same advice also applies to any animals — cats or dogs — that you may have in your home or out walking. It wouldn't take much to provoke a hungry or female/mother snake to lash out and bite, and a dog's nose in a hole would probably be more than enough to get things started. Make sure that you are watching where your dog is sniffing when you take them for a walk or let them out in your backyard. Go back to the home page: Snakes of Salinas