for Your New Garter Snake
Pet World Visit
Cage: You can keep a small garter snake in a 10-gallon aquarium for a while. We recommend larger quarters, so they get the exercise they need. In the wild, garter snakes move around a lot in search of food.
Hide Box. Most snakes prefer a hide box. Garters will live without one, but the box or cave gives them a secure place to hide. Lots of predators eat them: large birds, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and cats. Kids, of course, love collecting them. They’ll fill a bucket full if they find a nest.
garter snakes slither wild in
Temperament: Garter snakes actively hunt their prey. However, they rarely bite people. They’re runners not fighters. Their main defense when captured involves emitting a white, smelly liquid that repels some predators. Luckily, they stop emitting this substance after a short time in captivity.
Maximum Size. Garter snakes usually top out at three feet. Most stay a bit smaller. Females grow the largest.
Foods: Garter snakes
love goldfishes. A group of
garters will feed heartily from a water bowl containing live goldfish.
They look like cobras when they lift their head and body up with a
mouthful of goldfish. They will also eat deceased goldfish.
They also love earthworms and baby rodents. They’re nearly always
eager to eat and can get chubby in captivity.
Supplements: Garter snakes fed goldfish tend to suffer from thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency. An occasional earthworm dipped in powdered reptile vitamins should prevent this problem. Warning: Occasional means at least two weeks apart. Don’t overdose the vitamins.
Lighting: Most snakes don’t need full-spectrum light, but garters do appreciate a regular day and night schedule – without bright lights. If your garter snake gets an occasional baby rodent, you’ll see no problem with vitamin or calcium deficiency.
Water: Garter snakes love water. However, they prefer a dry substrate. Don’t slop water in their cage.
Furnishings: Give garter snakes some wood chunks or branches to clamber over. Garters also need wood to “catch” their skin on when shedding. Artificial or real plants make no difference to your garter, but they sure make your cage look better. Keep your decor easy to clean.
Handling: Feel free to handle your garters (except right after feeding). Support them well. And don’t squeeze them. Their “over-activeness” and attempts to “make a run for it” tempt you to grasp them too roughly.
Last Word: Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling any reptile. And keep them out of your mouth. LA.
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