Snake lifespan can vary depending on the animal’s species. For some types of snakes, living in a natural habitat versus under human care affects longevity.
Captivity. Under human supervision, snakes can live much longer than they would otherwise. The oldest snake on record, a Columbian rainbow boa named Ben, managed to live 42 years before expiring in June 2016; a wild rainbow boa would be lucky to live even a quarter of that.
Predators. Snakes with many predators have abbreviated lifespans. A prime example of this is the Garter snake. These snakes can live up to ten years, but most will probably die within their first year.
Human threats. Some snakes are killed by humans at a much higher rate than others. For example, the diamondback rattlesnake is commonly hunted for its skin; this reduces the mean lifespan of an otherwise long-lived snake.
How long do snakes live?
There are many factors that impact how long snakes live. In the wild, predators, climate, availability of prey, and other factors affect the average snake’s lifespan.
- Garter snakes – This species often survives for twenty years in captivity but averages only two in the wild.
- Brown snakes – While they often die young in nature, brown snakes can live up to seven years.
- Eastern hognose snake – The eastern hognose snake lifespan is about eleven years.
- Kingsnakes – These reptiles survive an average of five years in nature, but some live for over thirty years when captive.
- Black racers – This snake’s lifespan averages about a decade regardless of setting.
- Southern copperhead – The pests can survive in the wild for around fifteen years, but their life expectancy doubles in captivity.
Maturity in the Snake Lifecycle
Reproductive maturity usually occurs between one and four years of age within a snake’s lifespan. Some species, like the black rat snake, mature between ages seven and nine. This is when snakes begin giving birth or laying eggs.
Most snakes lay eggs, but about 30 percent give birth to live young. Snake eggs lie on the ground and need to incubate, which is why most of these reptiles live in warmer climates. Live snake births are more common in colder regions.
Snake eggs have a leathery shell and are usually a white or pale cream color. The pests can lay up to 20 to 30 eggs at a time, and young typically hatch within three months. Compost piles, mulch, and dry or rotting wood are common egg-laying sites.
Are Snakes in Your Yard a Problem?
Generally, no. Venomous snakes hide in debris or brush and may strike when disturbed. Snakes can also enter your house in search of food by wriggling through small gaps in doors or windows. Having snakes around is often beneficial, as it can keep the local rodent population in check. But if a snake is staying in your yard, it is likely there is an unchecked rodent population.
If you begin to notice the signs of a snake infestation, contact our team of experts at Trutech Wildlife, who have experience with snakes and can handle them safely.