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.