Drinking is a behavior rarely seen in wild snakes. In fact, some would say that snakes don’t need to drink. While it is rare to see this behavior, snakes do drink and likely need water in addition to what they acquire from their food. How important drinking is to snakes became very clear to me one day in March 2006. Despite cold, rainy, windy, and even snowy weather, we saw more than a dozen Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes drinking rain and snow outside their dens!

Last summer was pretty dry at our field site; the monsoon did not amount to much. The following videos were taken by our timelapse cameras while the snakes were still pregnant:

This is Cap Mama, Arizona Black Rattlesnake, about a week before she gave birth. Shortly after the rain starts, she emerges and drinks rain as it falls on her body.
Meanwhile on the other side of this rock outcrop, another pregnant female (Stache) also sneaks out for a drink. Unfortunately there is some grass in the way, but you can still get an idea of what a drinking snake looks like.