Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Garter snakes are usually the first and last snakes found in the valley. This is because they live right in most neighborhoods and finding them doesn't require planning an outing. They seem to get along just fine if they can avoid cats and lawnmowers and snake-hating, shovel-carrying people.
The amazing thing about garters is that they seem to just pop out of the ground in the spring in places where there aren't any obvious hiding places. A lot of these snakes are more than two feet long, yet they can simply disappear. Being serpentine has advantages.
For those that don't know, garters almost never bite but will musk or defecate when caught. Sometimes they will whip their tails around while defecating and leave you covered.
I love it when I catch them with their tongues out:
Some snake keepers feed garter snakes to their king snakes or milk snakes. I consider that to be very cruel, but then I am sure there are mouse lovers that frown on feeding rodents to snakes.
Garter snakes and most other snakes are underdogs in environmental struggles, but they can survive in neighborhoods that have yards with some vegetation and that is good to see.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Snakes-Milk and King Feeding Time

Like most snake keepers, I feed my snakes separately and in different containers than their normal terrariums (Note: empty costco nut and animal cracker containers make perfect feed containers for young snakes). Feeding snakes outside their home generally keeps king snakes and milk snakes from considering each other as a meal or confusing a hand for food.

Friday, April 10, 2009

King Snake Surrenders

After Ramses came out of his first hibernation, I used his hunger to switch him to frozen/thawed mice instead of live mice. This is more humane for the mice, helps Ramses avoid the "farewell bite", and makes my life a little easier. Ramses is no dummy. I have tried all of the tricks numerous times to get him to eat pre-killed food, but he would simply not eat something that he hadn't killed himself. He would move the dead mice around to determine whether they were alive or not and when the mice did not move, Ramses would not eat them no matter what they smelled like. His habits are so well-defined that I can predict his every move and I am counting on him eating frozen/thawed from now on.