Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)


Garter snake curled and slightly raised in the grassA Strawacres there are quite a few eastern garter snakes around. Some are by the house and others can be seen moving across the trails. You often just see the last half of their bodies slipping away into the undergrowth. You soon appreciate how the black and yellow stripes give them good camouflage. As I walk around the land I look carefully where I am placing my feet, not wanting to stand on one.  They are no doubt well aware I am approaching and move away quickly before I get chance to see them. When I have seen them I am surprised how incredibly fast a legless creature can move. A couple of small ones have been seen hanging around the back door, much to the amusement to my two children. I should say, for those unfamiliar, they are not poisonous. We only have one poisonous snake in Ontario, the massasauga rattlesnake. Here is a video my 9 year old son captured with his iPod when one garter snake popped through a hole in the sliding door frame. Although in the video the snake can be seen on the wrong side of the screen door it was let out safely and it was seen in the area again. The snakes will be feeding on insects, small mammals and frogs and toads. Early on after moving into the house we saw one snake that very clearly had eaten, as you can see in the photograph below. That bulge in the middle of its length looks about mouse of toad size! A garter snake that very obviously has eaten as its middle is swollen

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