Garter snakes, often referred to as gardener snakes, are found in most regions of United States as well as Canada. These snakes are common garden snakes that soon become a favorite pet for kids and parents need not worry a lot about these reptilian pets. Let us read a bit more information related to garter snakes as pets.
How to Find and Catch Wild Garter Snakes
Wild garter snakes can be found under a pile of leaves or under tall grasses. You need to be a bit fast as these snakes can be really fast. They love to hide under logs and rocks, hiding from their predators. They tend to run away then stand and fight back. So, you need to take a nice, large, cotton pillow case and place it open in the path of a fleeing garter snake. The snake will slide right in and you can catch it. If the snake curls itself up, do not try to grab it. This is the position that shows, the snake wants to fight and will probably bite you. However, these are not venomous and won't do much harm but it is always better to avoid being bitten. You can use a long stick and gently, very gently, coax it out of this position. Then catch it by its tail and push it gently into your pillow case.
Housing Garter Snakes as Pets
When it comes to housing wild garter snakes as pets, one will require a minimum 10 gallon terrarium. This terrarium needs to be filled with 2 inches of sand or soil. If your snake is large in size, you will need a bigger tank as they are active predators and need a lot of exercise. You should also place a piece of bark in the tank as they need it to help them shed their skin.
Wild garter snakes are semi-aquatic and therefore, you need to place a large water dish near them. You should also place some fake plants or an empty toilet paper roll to help them hide under it just to feel safe. Cover the tank with a tight fitting lid with proper aeration. These snakes are very good climbers and will get out of the tank at any given opportunity.
Feeding Garter Snakes
Wild garter snake habitat consists of fields and forests, especially near water bodies. They are predators and eat a wide variety of animals. They eat mice, rodents, fish, frogs and similar aquatic animals. They will even eat up earthworms and slugs, if need be. So, what do garden snakes eat? You can feed your garter snakes with mice, variety of earthworms and even fish. The large water bowl you place in the tank, can be filled with live fishes at dinner time. The snakes will love to get a live hunt, right from their bowl. You can feed small or young garter snakes with live guppies or smaller fishes.
Larger snakes can be fed with goldfishes. They love to eat goldfishes and you should put in two fishes in their bowl. The snake will switch on its predator mode and then you can watch him hunt down his meal. You can even try feeding him with earthworms. Place them in a plastic tray and the snake will feed on them. Do not get them from places that contain a lot of pesticides or chemicals. You can buy them from a store or mud that has received a lot of rainfall.
Do not feed your garter snakes with only fishes. They need to be fed with rodents and earthworms to complete their nutritional requirements. You can also get earthworms that are dipped in powdered reptile vitamins as these snakes tend to suffer from thiamine deficiency. You can feed the snake with earthworms and occasional fish twice a week. If the snake eats mostly fish with some earthworms, you need to feed them once a week. Those fed with rodents can be fed once a week.
Handling Garter Snakes as Pets
Garter snakes can get used to people handling them with time. You need to allow the snake to slide over your fingers and then lift it up. You should support its weight and allow it to move around your hand as its glides through. Do not startle the snake, or else it will emit a foul smelling liquid. However, it will soon get over it as soon as it gets used to you. After handling your snake, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly.
Garter snake will shed its skin like all other snakes. You need to remove the skin from the tank. Garter snakes do not attack each other, but will end up hurting each other if they try to eat up the same thing at a time. The tank should be kept at room temperature. Garter snakes as pets are a good reptilian choice for children over 6 years. They are small, easy to tame and gentle snakes. Hope the above information on wild garter snakes as pets has helped you know enough about taming these common garden snakes.
By Batul Nafisa Baxamusa