where can i find garter snakes

Discussion in 'Other Colubrids' started by Tyler Neifert, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. Tyler Neifert

    Tyler Neifert Embryo

    when i lived in my old house i used to find garter snakes in my basement all the time but not in my new house i was wondering where i can find wild garter snakes
  2. яowan.ω

    яowan.ω Member

    I've never had any living near me, but I can't walk through my Grandparents' backyards without seeing one.
  3. HerpboyFLA

    HerpboyFLA New Member

    I've lived in two broad spectrum of garter snake range and usually see them out during the day. Search after a rain, prime prey activity time.
    яowan.ω likes this.
  4. dogking

    dogking HOTM Winner September

    I can never just go out and find one. I always just happen to stumble on one when I'm mowing the lawn or doing something outside. I actually just caught one the other day. It was only a baby, but it was still cool!
  5. reptile boy

    reptile boy New Member

    i live near a marsh and i see common and marsh graters and in the summer me and my friends go out and catch them
    so try near a wet area
  6. xlendi

    xlendi Member

    I started off with garter snakes and DeKays. Recently - wanting to get back into snakes again - I put the word out among neighbourhood kids that I was looking for one - and I had two within a few days. I kept them for a while and used them to get my husband accustomed to having a "real snake" in the house. One day I mentioned to him that I felt sorry for the little guys since they weren't used to be in captivity. I suggested that I should let them go and buy a snake that was born into captivity and would know less of a difference. He agreed (surprised me) and within two days I had let them go and had a python! Hooray! Now for the rest of the snakes and lizards I want....
  7. WingedWolf

    WingedWolf Member

    If you're looking for pets, Scott Felzer has awesome garter snakes. If you're field herping, look alongside agricultural fields under pieces of board or carpet, and along drainage ditches.
  8. xlendi

    xlendi Member

    I would go looking in those suggested areas next spring. Considering how common the species is in most areas, it is hard to pay the prices expected when you buy one. I have seen them for sale. It is interesting and fun to hike around on a nice day looking for snakes in the "wild" - but my experience has been that the younger ones adapt to captivity better.
  9. WingedWolf

    WingedWolf Member

    I disagree with xlendi entirely. When you take on a pet, you take on full responsibility for its care and well-being, both morally and legally.
    A wild caught garter snake is MUCH more expensive than simply buying a captive-bred garter. This is true for ALL wild-caught animals. The reason is simple:
    Wild caught animals are delicate, not acclimated to captive conditions, and full of parasites. Parasites will build to lethal levels due to reinfection in a captive environment, so they must be eliminated.
    That means your new wild-caught snake will require prompt veterinary attention--a visit to evaluate its health, and a fecal test to identify which parasites it's harboring (it will have some, possibly several types). Then, medications need to be administered over the course of a week to eliminate those parasites. That means you get to pry open its delicate mouth and force-feed it a liquid medicine every day. Once treatment is complete, a second test must be done to verify that the parasites are gone.
    In the meantime, the snake is highly stressed out, so you must struggle with providing a pristine clean environment, preventing it from spreading water everywhere, and minimizing its stress as much as possible, so it does not develop any lethal infections. You also need to coax it to eat for you--with garter snakes this is usually not a big problem, but some individuals may adapt better than others.

    Between the vet bills, the time, and the care, and the uncertainty that the animal will thrive in captivity...why in the WORLD would you elect to catch a wild-caught snake when you could buy a healthy, parasite-free, acclimated snake that was bred in captivity?

    There's no such thing as a free puppy, and there is DEFINITELY no such thing as a free reptile.
    BP36 likes this.
  10. xlendi

    xlendi Member

    Sorry you found so many reasons to disagree, and I am sure that you are correct for the most part. I suppose that I just had years of dumb luck when I caught snakes in the wild. I had no health problems with any of them, whatever the species - not even mites. Garter snakes, kings, hognose, whaever. My friend and I read every book we could find on herp care (four?) - there was then very little information available on keeping reptiles - and there were certainly few vets who took on reptiles. No problems getting our snakes to eat. If they had parasites we were not aware of, they thrived in spite of them. They became friendly and responsive and lived for many years. And it is amazing that my boas and pythons also managed to survive inspite of not having heat lamps and all - not available and not recommended.

    I have always loved my little animals - perhaps they felt that and that helped them overcome the general lack of knowledge we amateurs had in the fifities and sixties. Throughout my life I have done well with all sorts of animals - and children as well - who needed love, time, and patience for them to learn to function well again.

    I also suspect that many have bought snakes that also had medical or "psychological "problems. All we can do is to take what we are given and give them care, nurture, and nourishment, and guide them to trust and love.

    Take my word for it - the inernet has benefited reptile care more than we can imagine. For those days past, dumb luck must have served us and our herps well.
  11. BP36

    BP36 New Member

    i live in western new york and i see em regularly when i go to the right spots.Normally i find the eastern checkered garters, striped, and orange phase checkered. in my experience they can be found almost 100% of the time near water or swampy areas. simply because they stay close to food sources. mainly fish, frogs, newts, and worms. spring time i go to a wildlife preserve where these conditions occur and i usually stumble upon large breeding groups numbering over 100 at times. any large rock or fallen tree when turned over will yield at least 2 snakes hiding under. winged wolf is correct about whats involved in homing a wild caught animal. parasites may not be seen on the snake but rest assured they are within the snake and Will spread outside the enclosure its being kept in. I will however say that feeding them isnt usually an issue after you have had them for a few days and they relax a bit. they readily eat worms or any non toxic slimy mucus covered invertebrates . I have caught and kept garters and even timber rattle snakes but no mare than a week or 2 , then i release them where i found them. but during that time i house them in a different room and use caution when handling. Always sterilize your hands after handling and surround the enclosure with sticky insect trap sheets. Catch one, enjoy it for a week or so to get it out of your system if you must then let em go. something cool id like to share is that if you want to purchase and keep a garter, look into an albino checkered garter. they look amazing and can usually be found hiding at a random table at a good size reptile show. pretty well priced between 80 and 150 bucks
  12. WingedWolf

    WingedWolf Member

    How many years is 'many'? While it's possible for animals to live with some types of parasites in captivity for quite some time, it still tends to cut their lifespan short. In most cases, a wild caught snake, untreated, will not live for more than a few years.

    Since the lifespan of a garter snake should be at least 10 to 15 years, that is a tragedy and a crime. Corn and kingsnakes live even longer, up to 20 years.

    The increase in knowledge of reptile care has proven tremendously beneficial for reptiles...but only if people use it. It's no longer the 50s, when tiny baby turtles would be shipped in uninsulated boxes to children, who played with them like they were toys. Most reptiles caught and kept in that era died rather miserably.
    We know better now.

    If you want to catch and keep wild herps for a couple of weeks to study them, first make certain it is legal to do so--in some States, it is not legal to catch them in the first place, and in others, it is illegal to release them again once you have taken them into captivity. If it is legal, then take precautions to protect wild populations. Do not engage in this practice if you have pet reptiles already. Keep only one reptile at a time. Disinfect equipment thoroughly in between animals, and release the reptile precisely where you found it.

    A reptile pet is generally a long term responsibility. Most reptiles are very long-lived animals. If you're not up for keeping an animal that lives longer than a cat or a dog, then do your research carefully, and stick to the few species with lifespans under 10 years.
    BP36 likes this.

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