The Sneaky Snake Slithered Sideways Silently

Walking through our local conservation area with my husband and kids, I saw something dart across my path. Knowing it would make a great addition to “Featured Species,” not to mention a fun find for the kids, I had my husband follow with his camera.

Can you see it?


How about now?




Oh alright. Here.


Turns out, snakes are difficult to photograph.

Isn’t he adorable though, with his little head poking up to look at us?

This FEATURED SPECIES is most likely a common garter snake: Thamnophis sirtalis

Love them or hate them, snakes are a fascinating species. These little guys only live around 2 years in the wild, but longer in captivity. They range from around 50 cm to a metre and eat worms, mice, salamanders, frogs and fish (their impressive speed would be helpful with this diet). They are the most widespread snake in North America, and have an enormous range. Garter snakes can have 70-80 live young in one litter. There’s a fact that would make Indiana Jones cringe.

Garter snakes are not really known for biting, but if handled excessively, it is possible. However, their bites apparently don’t cause much harm. They’re more likely to excrete a foul smelling musk as a defense mechanism. Interestingly, the lined design on their backs helps them avoid detection, as it gives the illusion they aren’t moving!

Fear of snakes is deeply rooted in our evolutionary past (a logical adaptation in many parts of the world). So, if you’re one of the people that gets a bit of a shiver when you see one dart across the path, you can blame it on that! But, if you’re from around here, you can rest easy! We only have one venomous snake in Ontario, which is actually on the “Threatened Species” list: the Massasauga Rattlesnake. That species is very timid and will only strike if it feels threatened. Most people who have been bitten were trying to pick one up.



Posted on June 2, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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