Catching and Caring for Garter Snakes

Garter snakes, or gardener snakes as they are sometimes called, can be found in most of united states and Canada near water sources; they can even be found in your own backyard! They are quick to warm up to people and make great pets for both children and adults.

Garter snakes, or gardener snakes as they are sometimes called, can be found in most of united states and Canada near water sources; they can even be found in your own backyard! They are quick to warm up to people and make great pets for children as well as adults.

Finding and Catching

Garter snakes are active hunters during the warmer, but not hot, parts of the day. They primarily eat small fish, so you can find them near bodies of water. They can also be found hiding in the leaf litter of forests or in tall grass. Catching a garter snake while it is hunting can be tricky as they are very fast and can swim quite well. The best way to catch a wild snake is to flip over logs and rocks around a water source. Snakes like to rest under such shelters to hide from predators. Once you finally find a snake, there are several way to capture it, depending on what it does.

Garters are more runners than fighters, so the easiest way to catch a fleeing snake is to bring an empty pillowcase with you and place the open end in the snakes path to let the animal slide on in. If you are in a closed area and don’t have room for this, just GENTLY grab the snake by the tail and slip it into the pillow case. If however, your snake wants to fight, it will curl itself up. DO NOT grab a snake in this position. It can launch itself out and bite you.

Granted, garter snakes have very tiny teeth and are not venomous, but it’s always better not to get bitten. To get a snake out of this prone position, use a stick to GENTLY coax it to straighten itself out and then get it into the bag. Of course the very best way to catch a garter snake is to find them in early spring when they come out of hibernation. During the winter, garter snakes huddle together in huge masses to share body heat, then when spring comes, they all emerge at the same time. There be literally hundreds of snakes in one area. Large gatherings also occur during mating season when hordes of males while chase after a larger female. Garter snakes also love sandstone and limestone, so keep this in mind when you are looking for them

Housing

Garter snakes, depending on the size of the one you catch, require a minimum of a ten gallon terrarium with about two inches of soil. Larger tanks are recommended for larger snakes; garters are active hunters and need exercise. You will also need to place a piece of bark or other rough material in the tank. Snakes need this to help them shed their skin as they grow older.

You also need a large water dish, garter snakes like to live near, but not in water, and this will give you a place to put its food as well. The last thing you will need is a shelter, just a little something your snake can curl up inside of to feel safe. Plants, fake or real, are optional. You will also need a tight fitting lid. Snakes are good climbers, and it will get out if you leave an opening larger enough for it to fit its head through.

Feeding

Garter snakes eat a variety of small animals, but their main captive diet is goldfish which you can buy very cheap at a pet store. Alive or dead makes no difference, just put it in your snake’s water dish, and he will eat it when he smells it, but don’t overfeed your snake. One or two goldfish every other day should be more than enough. The occasional earthworm covered in a reptile vitamin B substitute is needed, but don’t overdose it on vitamins. Make sure that these vitamin supplement feedings are at least two weeks apart. In the wild garter snakes also eat newts, tadpoles, and even baby rodents, but getting these on a regular basis can be difficult.

Handling

One of the things that makes garter snakes such good pets is that they get used to people handling them quickly. Just remember not to actually grab your snake as it will interpret this as being attacked, and it may bite you. Allow it to slide over your fingers and lift it up, supporting its weight and allowing it to move around on you while putting your free hand under it’s head as it tries to glide through. As long as you don’t startle it, it won’t slither too quickly. The other defense mechanism that garter snakes use is to emit a foul smelling white liquid, but they will stop doing this after they get used to you, and it washes off easily enough. The one thing you should always do after handling your snake or any reptile is to wash your hands thoroughly.

Other Considerations

As your snake grows it will shed its skin. It will not eat this like a toad might, so just remove it from the cage. Putting more than one snake in a cage can be problematic. Though they probably won’t attack each other, it they try to eat the same thing at the same time, they can end up hurting each other. Snakes are cold blooded, so try to avoid extremes of heat and cold. Try to keep his cage at room temperature and he should do fine. If you catch a pregnant or breed garter snakes yourself, keep in mind that they give birth to live young so you’ll have to keep an eye on things. And I don’t recommend trying to raise baby garters, but if you do, feed them tiny fish and small worms.

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  1. Akil

    On March 31, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Hi

    My name is Akil and man your information is the best it’s just what I need and when I need so goood job, keep it up and I will tell people about this

  2. Natalie

    On April 16, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Hey thank you so much for your information it was great my mom hates snakes so i brought 3 home from school

  3. Nick

    On April 19, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Well it all depends on the snake for feeding because i just cught a garter snake and my dad pulled this up, so i tried feeding him gold fish,minos,and pinkys(tiny dead mice)and he would only eat earthworms.

  4. ^

    On April 19, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Heres a tip, when feeding the garter snake put him in a seperate box (closed) with whatever you might feed him not counting minos, so he will not confuse your hand with food while holding, and when you put him in the box he know its time to eat.

  5. rico

    On April 23, 2008 at 8:59 am

    this is a relly good info if you are trying to catch a gartersnake I recommend you to check out this site

  6. taylor

    On April 28, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    thank you so much for the tips im going to cach some at the end of may and i needed to know what to feed them thanks so much!

  7. Mark

    On May 5, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    i couldnt catch the first snake i saw and when i tried he went under some door steps i dont really know where to find one around my area and i found him in a garden, so im not sure where to look. NEED ANSWER PLEASE

  8. Togot

    On May 8, 2008 at 3:11 am

    Mark, try looking under logs and rocks, any form of shelter during the really hot parts of the day. snakes and other animals like to hide from the sun in such places to cool down. best of luck budy

  9. Jasmine

    On June 15, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I think that this is great news because my nabers caght a fisety little gader snake and they might need to Know this type of stuff!

  10. Sam

    On June 24, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    yeah, this is exactly what i needed, thanks

  11. riki

    On June 26, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    i caught a garder snake today but its just red,grey and black no yellow is it still a garder snake??

  12. Togot

    On June 27, 2008 at 2:42 am

    Riki, as long as it has the solid stripes going down the length of its body, it’s either a garter snake, or a ribbon snake which is just a smaller cousin. garter snakes do come in a variety of colors. the green with yellow strops is just the most common.

  13. The Snake Whisperer

    On July 2, 2008 at 3:09 am

    Breeders also have come up with some amazingly beautiful color varieties of garter snakes. Check out some of the gorgeous garters here!
    http://www.albinogartersnake.com/
    http://www.albinogartersnake.com/available.html

    You can learn a lot about garter snakes here at this forum devoted to the garters!
    http://www.thamnophis.com/

    I’ve caught garters over the years or my cats have brought me wounded garters that I treated and released, and last year two garters found me and earned themselves a lifetime of luxury in their 10 gallon “palace”. (I use the term “palace” because my adult female, JC, thinks she is a queen and I’m her servant!) JC, her friend Little Bud, and my other snakes have taught me a lot about themselves. JC for instance, although plain dark green with light green stripes, is full of curiosity and personality. She has to check out everything new that comes her way. She is the only snake I’ve ever seen who loves admiring her own reflection! Little Bud by contrast, is not nearly as curious and prefers to stay mostly out of sight.
    My garters HATE fish…a feeder goldfish lived untouched by the snakes, for several months in the snake’s cage in their swimming pool until it died of natural causes. Their favorite diet is earthworms although I’ve managed to get them to accept f/t pinkies with an earthworm wrapped around the pinky. When served this serpentine version of a hot dog, JC eats the pinky first and then the worm for dessert. If feeding fish or worms exclusively, it would be wise to add a little calcium and vitamin powder made for reptiles, to add the nutrients that diets of only worms and fish would lack.

  14. Jonathan

    On July 13, 2008 at 8:24 am

    I can’t belive that it really worked!I love my garter snake but,my mom dosen’t like snakes.So were should I put it?NEED ANSWER!

  15. Togot

    On July 13, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Jonathan, if you have to keep your pet outside there are a few considerations you have to take into account. place the tank so that half of it is in sun and half is in shade so your pet can regulate its body temperature without being roasted. you also need a water proof cover so that the tank doesn’t flood when it rains. during the winter you will have to bring it inside or at least in a garage with a heating pad to keep your pet from freezing to death. keeping a snake outside is much trickier than keeping it inside, but if you have no choice i hope this helped.

  16. Jonathan

    On July 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

    thanks

  17. Jonathan

    On July 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

    thanks

  18. Jonathan

    On July 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

    thanks

  19. Jonathan

    On July 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

    thanks

  20. Jonathan

    On July 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

    thanks

  21. Jonathan

    On July 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

    thanks

  22. Jonathan

    On July 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

    thanks

  23. Jonathan

    On July 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

    thanks

  24. kristen

    On August 18, 2008 at 10:08 am

    hi i found a baby garter snake and she likes to go in water and stay upside down it looks like she is dead but if u put a fish in the bowl she goes nuts and if i touch her she gets up. is this normal??? also she never sticks her tongue out? can someone help?? thanks

  25. Togot

    On August 18, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I have never observed this behavior in young snakes before. Although it is common for garter snakes to be drawn to water, I have never known them to rest in it inverted, and I have never seen a snake that did not flick its tongue in response to movement. I did some research after reading your question, but I can find no mention of this behavior in snakes. However, if this odd quirk does not seem to be affecting the health of your pet I see no reason to worry. Continue your observations and don’t hesitate to ask me more questions if anything changes. sorry I couldn’t be more help on this matter.

  26. someone

    On August 18, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Hi I live in a development and want to find a garter snake but there are no rocks really where can I look in my backyard for one.

  27. Togot

    On August 19, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Someone, you might have a hard time finding a garter snake in that kind of area, but here are a few things that might help. garter snakes love limestone. a friend of mine has a lime stone wall basement, and every year she finds snakes down their. Garter snakes also love gardens, which is why many people call them gardener snakes. The larger ones also like to eat small mice, so where you see mice, you might also find snakes. And of course garter snakes like to be near large bodies of water like lakes and ponds. I hope this helps you tighten your search areas.

  28. someone

    On August 19, 2008 at 8:58 am

    thankyou

  29. Abby

    On September 9, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    My mom woke me up one morning by screaming and when I ran outside she told me she had seen a snake in her garden. After many attempts I caught him and secured his neck so as not to get bitten. I bought a ten gallon aquarium and I have been feeding him minnows, feeder fish, and crickets but I’ve been reading websites and they say that this is not good because live fish carry many parasites and they lack/destroy vitamin B. He has been eating everything but the crickets with vigor and he seems to be doing good but when I was holding him yesterday one of my cats jumped forward and bit him. The scales on his one side seemed to be messed up and on the other side a big drop of blood formed. I held some gauze around him and it didn’t bleed anymore. I’ve checked him a few times today and he seems to be doing fine. Is there anything special I should do? And the last skin he shed was two feet long. Is a ten gallon aquarium large enough for him? Or should I buy a twenty gallon aquarium? Your answers will be very much appreciated… thank you!!!

  30. Abby... again

    On September 9, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    P.S. He or she is a garter snake or maybe a ribbon snake. How can I tell the difference. And how do I know if it is a male or female?

  31. Togot

    On September 10, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Abby, i have never seen a garter snake eat crickets before. try feeding your pet some earth worms and slugs. as for vitamin B, you can get a vitamin powder at most pet stores to sprinkle on your pets food. feeder fish bought from a pet store are less likely to contain parasites than those caught outdoors, so i wouldn’t worry about that too much. a 20 gallon tank isn’t much larger than a 10 gallon in terms of ground area. (the extra space is also vertical) your ten gallon tank should be fine. you should keep an eye on the injury, the next time he sheds his skin the scales should correct themselves, but if your pet gets an infection you should take it to a vet. as for sexing your pet, males are smaller and thin, and females are larger and more meaty. a ribbon snake is much smaller than a garter snake.

  32. nikki

    On September 12, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Love the website! I found a TINY baby garter(?) yesterday and took him home. My son and I would love to keep him and watch him grow as part of our science unit( we are home schooling), but also as a pet. He is hte size of a small earthworm, only about 2 inches long, and very thin. Im concerned he would get lost in a 10 gallon tank, and we wouldn’t know if he was alive or dead. Any suggestions?

  33. Abby

    On September 12, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Okay then I think that he is definitely a garter snake and he is probably a female because (she?) is thick and longer than two feet. I can’t even tell where the bite was anymore because she seems to have healed completely.
    I have been buying the minnows from Petsmart and I have fed my snake about ten a week plus ten crickets of which she ate all but one. I never see her eat the crickets but I have always had at least ten in there and they always disappear.
    I had actually found three slugs from my garden and two of them were huge while one was smaller. After I put them in the tank I saw the smaller one squeeze itself through an impossibly small hole in the fastened lid. I cut that one in half and put it back in the tank and I’m not sure if the snake ate it or the other two slugs ate it. I saw one of the huge slugs sucking at the insides of the one I cut in two. Then one of the slugs kept laying small white eggs(?) and I had to take it out of the tank as well because I didn’t want babies that could escape. So far, the snake hasn’t eaten the third slug that I left inside with her. I think it’s to big.
    Yesterday, I bought frozen pinkies from Petsmart and after I defrosted one I set it in her tank and then I had to go to work. When came home four hours later it was untouched in the cage. I took it out and put it in a bag and ran hot water over it and then I scented the pinky with a minnow and dangled it in the snake’s face and then set it down. Within ten minutes she ate it. So now I think I will feed her one pinky a week. Is this sufficient or should I also continue to feed minnnows?
    I bought 50 minnows and within a day they all died. I’m not sure why they died, maybe the water temperature became to low… but I was wondering is it okay if I freeze them and then continue to feed them to her? Or will they make her sick because they were dead for a few hours before I froze them? Also, I read online that pinkies contain complete nutrition and so snakes that eat them don’t need other vitamins… Is this true?
    And thank you so much!!! All the information you gave me helped me a lot, especially in your article. Before, when I wanted to hold her I would grab right behind her neck and pick her up but I couldn’t let her head go because I didn’t want to get bitten. I was afraid of her. After reading your instructions on how to handle a snake, I can now gently pick her up from her middle with no problem and let her slide through my hands while she continually moves (She must have thought I was attacking her every other time when I picked her up because I grabbed her right behind the head). I’m so glad she doesn’t musk anymore because that was really gross and it stank!! And now when I pick her up she stays calm knowing I won’t hurt her… as long as the cats aren’t around :) It’s nice to have a snake that tames so easily.

    Thank again, Abby

  34. Togot

    On September 12, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Nikki, A ten gallon tank is fine for a baby snake, just provide a single piece of cover such as a chunk of bark. Baby snakes love to hide so you should be able to find it easily. Just make sure you have a very secure lid. Small snakes are regular escape artists. I recommend keeping something warm near the tank. If it does get out, it will most likely go to the source of warmth. My brown snake got out once and three days later I spotted its head poking out of my play station 2. It liked the electronic heat.

    Abby, I have never fed my snake pinkies before, (I assume you are referring to frozen baby mice) they do provide the minerals that worms do not, but it sounds like you might be overfeeding your pet. Snakes only need to eat about twice a week. They digest food more slowly than mammals because they are reptiles. As for the minnows, as long as they aren‘t rotting it should be ok. There could be several reasons the fish died, my guess would be shock. If a fish goes into water with a different temperature it can kill them. Most people let the bag they get the fish in set in the water they are going to put them in for about an hour so the temperature can slowly stabilize. I’m glad to hear you can handle your snake in a more relaxed manner, and I wish you well.

  35. Abby

    On September 13, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Oh. I let the minnows sit in the new tank of water in their bag for fifteen minutes. I didn’t realize I should have waited an hour. Yes, now I will feed her one pinky a week and since you said they should be fed twice a week should I also feed her some frozen minnows? Is ten minnows too much? And I was also wondering if it is alright that I don’t have a source of heat in her cage. Will she be able to digest her food normally with out some sort of heater underneath her mulch? I do have a fluorescent light at the top of her cage but I do not think that provides her with very much heat at all.

  36. Togot

    On September 13, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Abby, ten minnows in one sitting is a bit much even if they are small. as for heat, it does help snakes digest food more efficiently, but as long as you have the tank at room temperature or better it should be fine. you might try putting it near a window so it gets direct sunlight in about half the tank so your pet can sunbath

  37. Aman

    On September 17, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I am not sure if the snake that I have is a Gardener Snake, since I have been looking in diffrent sites. I live in a agricultural area and I have not been sucessful with feeding the snake any goldfish. What, or how, do I feed this snake (Identification marks would make it a lot easier, too)?

  38. Togot

    On September 18, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Aman, to my knowledge all garter snakes have three stripes running down the length of their body, bud red ribbon snakes look very simuler, only smaller. as for food, earthworms are a good alternative food for garter snakes, i suggest trying those. snakes also key in to movement. try slowly waving the food in front of the snake to get it’s attention. it will flick its tongue to figure out what it is and then move in to eat it.

  39. Aman

    On September 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Uhh, the snake kinda runs away from my hand. He was caught in the wild by pure chance, since I was not looking for it.All that I have fed it were grass frogs.

  40. Togot

    On September 23, 2008 at 2:59 am

    Amen, one of the things that makes garter snakes such good pets is that they get used to humans very quickly, but you do have to interact with your pet. when you handle it, don’t grab it, but let it flow through your fingers, let it get used to your scent, and don’t make fast movements. earthworms tend to wriggle around, so if you place it near your pet, it should eat it

  41. Jax

    On September 27, 2008 at 9:37 am

    thank you soo much for the tips but dont they need a heating pad? the only advice for raising a garterr snake i got elswhere was the propaganda from the pet store.

  42. Togot

    On September 27, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Jax, yes a heating pad, or lamp, helps snakes with digestion. if you use a pad, keep it under the tank on one side so your pet can regulate its own temperature by moving around.

  43. jeremy

    On September 28, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    thank for the info you let me know how too be a good parent to my garter snake.

  44. Rachel

    On September 30, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Hi,

    I’ve owned snakes before and loved them. I think they are like humans, they each have their own personalities – some good, some bad. I never expected to own another snake, but I found a little garter snake this morning in my garage (they are all over this area, and we’ve found them in the garage before).
    The problem is, this one was, um…squishied. It looks like someone either rode a bike over it while it was curled up, or stomped on it. It is pretty battered, almost flat where it was run over.
    I really want to save it’s life – but I don’t know how. Any suggestions???

  45. Togot

    On October 1, 2008 at 3:16 am

    Rachel, i’m afraid i am not a vet. my only advice is to either take it to one, or provide it with a warm place to either recover, or pass away peacefully. i’m sorry i can’t provide more help than that

  46. chris

    On October 1, 2008 at 5:56 am

    hi is it ok for me to make a snakes place out of wood. oh ya and snould i be looking in fall or in spring???

  47. chris

    On October 1, 2008 at 5:58 am

    dose it need a hot light above the snake???

  48. george and braden

    On October 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    is it usaully possible for 2 foot garter snakes to get through a 1/2 of a centameter hole?

  49. george and braden

    On October 5, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    P.S., we need answer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. george and braden

    On October 5, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    HELLO?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  51. togot

    On October 5, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    george and braden, a snake can fit through most openings that their head can get through. though males are slightly thinner than females, i don’t think a hole that size would be a problem for the snake you are describing.

    p.s. i check this site once a day at ten at night. you shouldn’t expect me to answer your questions right after you post them

  52. george and braden

    On October 6, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you Togot.

  53. dane

    On October 19, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    my garter snake wont shed. I have had it for over 3 months and i have read a lot but i still cant figure out y it wont shed. can anyone help me????

  54. Togot

    On October 19, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Dane, snakes shed their skin as they grow. the older they are, the more slowly they grow and therefore the less frequently they shed their skins. mine only shed his skin about twice a year, so don’t worry if it takes a long time between sheddings.

  55. Steve

    On October 22, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I just found a gardener snake today out in the yard. It was only high in the 50’s and was amazed to see it out in the cold like that. I always thought that once the temperatures dropped like this that ’snake season’ was over. It was coiled up and I darn near stepped on it before I noticed it. What was even more surprising to me was that it didnt even move or stir when I came near or waved my hand in front of it. It didnt move until the cat at my feet stepped on it. So far this raises two questions I have.

    First, how cold does it have to be before snakes stop ‘coming out’ and sunning themselves?

    Second, did I catch it during nap time? Is that why it didn’t stir? Or are snakes just more lethargic in cooler temperatures?

    So now, at my daughters request, (ok, I wanted to keep it myself. I love snakes and have been looking for a gardener snake all summer long) I have a ten gallon aquarium in my living room with pebbles on the bottom on one half and a nice flat rock for sunning during the day and assorted shells and branches with beautiful fall leaves on the other half and bedding hay. From what I understand, snakes really don’t drink much water so I only have a few ounces in there in a lid just slightly larger than a milkjug lid. Again, from what I understand, I thought snakes had no problem eating insects so I gathered a few crickets from the yard and will most likely find some spiders in the cellar too. From reading all the previous comments on here, it really don’t sound like this is going to be a sufficient diet.
    I really don’t want to be buying mice and minnows all the time (and there’s no way in @#$% my wife will let me freeze ANYTHING in the freezer that use to crawl, wiggle or had a heartbeat at one time) so I guess my next question would be..

    … can my gardener snake (which is about 8 to ten inches)survive on a diet of what I can stalk, hunt and capture on my own ‘in the wild’? :)

    And what IS their usual water consumption?

    Is soil a must in the aquarium? And if so, why? For the earthworms?

    Any suggestions would be appreciatied and sorry for being so lengthy!

  56. Togot

    On October 23, 2008 at 3:13 am

    Steve, we are getting right around the end of snake season. they will start heading for burrows where they will huddle together by the hundreds to keep each other warm. the one you found was probably a straggler, and from the description of its behavior, it was probably in a lethargic state. this is probably what helped you catch it so easily. I once found a brown snake two days before it started snowing. I was just walking on a path and there it was. It was so non-responsive that I thought it might be dead. to answer your other questions, as the temperature gets lower, snakes aren’t the only things you will have a hard time finding. most of the things you could find for them to eat will also disappear, so it might be hard to feed them without trips to a pet store or bait shop about once a week. I prefer feeding my snake earth worms with an occasional vitamin supplement sprayed on them for two reasons. one, my snake has never refused this meal, and two, earthworms are a large meal so my snake doesn’t need to eat as often. your snake sounds like a younger one, but it should still be able to eat an earth worm, or at least the red wrigglers. you shouldn’t have to keep the worms in the fridge since it’s getting colder out, just put them in a garage or a shed, someplace that gets colder than the house but not freezing. garter snakes are quite fond of water, so you can give them a larger water dish. mine likes to coil up inside his, and they can actually drink quite a bit. Soil as in dirt isn’t necessary, but some kind of substrate other than just glass or torn up grass is a good idea for several reasons: it’s easier for a snake to grip with their belly and move around on, it’s familiar to the snake, it gives them a rough surface to rub against for when they are shedding their skin, they like to make a small depression in it under whatever cover you give them to make a kind of burrow, and it’s warmer than bare glass. I hope this helps you out.

  57. jake

    On October 24, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Ok…ive had my garter for about two months now, and actually caught and kept it while i was fishing. I know it was a baby when i caught it, cause it was only about ten inches…Ive done alittle research as to what to feed it and what not to…So ive had it for about 2 months now and been feeding it cut up worms and sometimes minnows from the bait shop…But suddenly it hasnt eatin or taken anything for almost a week…it wont eat live minnows, or worms…and never ate dead minnows ever…And I’m pretty sure its way to small to feed it pinkies also…I guess my question or questions are…how do i get it to eat again? And why it hasnt shed since the first week ive gotten it? Do i need to up the temperature? Do i need to hibernate my snake? Someone give me some good expert advice, please!

  58. Togot

    On October 24, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    a heating pad or lamp is always a good idea. it helps boosts a snake’s metabolism and therefore their appetite. it also helps them digest food. just make sure you only put the pad under half the tank so the snake can regulate it’s own body temperature. hibernating snakes is a tricky thing to do which is why i avoid it. it’s not necessary for their health. when people say that snakes that don’t hibernate don’t live as long, it’s because hibernation ages them much more slowly. it could be that the time of year is simply making him tired. my turtles hardly eat anything all winter long even though i keep them indoors with a heat lamp. as for the shedding, snakes only shed a few times a year. granted young ones shed more often, but two months in between isn’t that unusual. if you’re really worried, you can get a full spectrum heat lamp just in case. good luck, i hope this helps

  59. jake

    On October 25, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Thanks for answering my questions…but i have a heat lamp, and have been using it the whole time…I just got a new batch of worms and tried feeding him or her one, and it just smells and looks at it, and then looks at me like “you want me to eat this?” I dont know what do to…it hasnt eatin for a whole week now, and i am getting worried…and starting to think about force feeding it…do you think thats a good idea? If not, are there other things to feed it besides, worms and minnows? I know people sometimes feed their snakes mice parts, or baby mice…but dont think thats really an option for this young of a snake…leeches? slugs? What should i do? Are there any techniques to getting him or her to eat?

  60. Togot

    On October 25, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    i’m not so sure about the leaches, but snakes will eat slugs. snakes are also stimulated by movement. a little trick i did to get my brown snake to eat was to take a pair of tweezers and wiggle the worm in front of it to get it interested. might be worth a try

  61. jake

    On October 26, 2008 at 1:55 am

    O.K. so i took your advice trying to wiggle it infront of his face with the tweezers and it just aint working…Could he not be eating cause he is possibly week or two away from shedding? I thought i read that somewhere. I might have to force feed him soon. How long can a snake thats a couple months old go without eating? I am starting to get worried cause today now, its been a week since he ate. And i know that i cant let him go now cause he wont survive now that winter is on its way. What should i do about this stubborn snake of mine?

  62. Togot

    On October 26, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Jake, i’m afraid it’s very hard to force a snake to eat, and even if you do it will stress the snake so much that they will probably regurgitate whatever went down their throat. i did some additional research for you and there are a few dozen possible reasons a snake won’t eat. one reason is comfort. if your snakes enclosure is too unlike what it would prefer in the wild due to substrate, temperature, or humidity, it may not eat. stress is another factor that can stop a snake from eating. the easiest way to calm a snake is to give them a dark hiding spot or even cover the entire tank with a towel. you can also stimulate conditions by making it “rain” in the tank just before feeding time. worms mostly come out when it has rained, so snakes have a conditioned response to associate rain with food. garter snakes also associate water with fish, so it should work it you want to feed you snake a guppy as well. just pour some water around the tank, not alot, but enough to get your snakes attention. if your snake is preparing to shed, it should be a duller color and its eyes will appear pale, almost like it’s blind. it will also spend more time hiding. snakes can go over a week without eating, provided they had something substantial to eat first. if you are really worried, then it might be that your snake is sick and you should take it to a herpetologist vet if you can find one.

  63. jake

    On October 31, 2008 at 12:09 am

    I finally got my garter snake to eat a minnow after a week of working at it…i could have been so worried, not to think of the simplest thing possible “he’s just not hungary!” lol…but yeah hasnt shed yet either…his skin is looking kinda dry, i am thinking it might not be humid enough for him…but yeah thanks for the advice!

  64. Steve

    On November 4, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    This is Steve again from Oct. 22. I was going to pose some questions again I have about my snake but it looks like the exchange of postings Jake and Togot have had in the past week and a half have covered my exact concerns. MY SNAKE ISNT EATING! I have had crickets and earthworms and even got some smaller goldfish a few days ago and still he (Fast Freddy as my daughter calls him)still has not consumed one thing. The crickets ate the worms and I’ve been chucking fish carcass’s about 1-2 a day and Freddy could care less. I even tossed him a wolf spider last night (much to the wife’s content) thinking he would surely be tempted by the jerky, quick movement but the spider just crawled over Freddys face and he could have cared less. When I got him out of his aquarium about an hour ago, he actually seemed kind of irritated. I have had him out many times before and he has been very calm. I dont know if I woke him up or not but he was herky-jerky and movin fast.
    From what I gather from your comments, I think I am lacking the darkness factor and more heat. After ten days he CERTAINLY has to be hungry by now and am not necessarily sold on the fact that he just needs a little more shade but am certainly open to the possibilty. Stress? Other than a couple dogs that might growl and wrestle from time to time in the middle of the room and a 6yr old that doesnt pester him and only holds him when Im around, I dont know what would be stressfull!
    Any other suggestions? And could you tell me where you did you researching Togot? I noticed you said “dozens” of possible reasons. Would love to learn about some others just in case.

    Thank You.

  65. Togot

    On November 7, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Steve,Thank you for reading the other comments, it helps that I don’t have to go over all of those possible causes again. Some of the causes I didn’t list were sickness, humidity, vitamin B1 deficiency, just isn’t hungry, or is a picky eater. If your snake is sick, it will probably display more symptoms than just lack of apatite. It will be sluggish, unresponsive, and you should take it to a vet. Humidity can also affect a snake. Garter snakes like a slightly damp environment. They usually live near sources of water, so it’s ok to give them a large water dish. Vitamin B1 deficiency causes lack of appetite and also muscle spasms which resemble seizures. You can prevent this with a vitamin spray which can be applied to your snake’s food, but if he is already at the point where he isn’t eating, you will need to take it to a vet. A snake can actually go about a month without eating if it had a large meal before hand, especially if it is in a cool room. Like the last person with this problem, his snake just wasn’t hungry. Another cause, though it doesn’t sound like the case with your snake is that your snake doesn’t like what it’s being fed. I understand your being skeptical about darkness, but keep in mind that a snakes only real weapon is the ability to bite, and while it’s eating, it can’t defend itself which makes it feel very vulnerable. A snake needs to feel safe and secure for it to feed. As for my research. Most of the advice I give is from my own experience with my pets and what I have learned through books when I was caring for them, but when someone has a problem beyond my experience or knowledge, or when my suggested solution doesn’t work, I do an online search and read as much as I can about the problem. I hope this was helpful, and sorry it took so long for me to respond but my computer hasn’t been working lately.

  66. chris angels

    On November 27, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I need help with my snake man

  67. Togot

    On November 27, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    chris angels, i’m afraid you’ll have to be more specific with your problem than that for me to be of any help. what’s wrong?

  68. frogger

    On November 30, 2008 at 10:03 am

    i had a snake that had 5 babies but she ate all the babies except one what should I do???

  69. Togot

    On November 30, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Frogger, snakes are cannibalistic and have no maternal instincts once the babies can move on their own. when your snake has young you should remove them and put them in their own enclosure or release them. they are self sufficient once they are born.

  70. OceanLove963

    On December 29, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    wow, Tagot, you seem to have all the answers. Let’s see if you can help me with this one.

    One of my garter snakes had eight babies. Three died (of natural causes) and I’m afraid another one is about to join them. It’s the skinniest snake out of the remaining five and it won’t eat. We’ve been feeding all the snakes worms. When it does eat, it gets sick and throws the worm up. We’ve tried moving it into a box separate from all the other babies (who are all fat and completely healthy) and feeding it the smallest worms so it doesn’t choke on them. But, now it won’t eat at all. It’s one of the sweetest snakes and I’m determined to save it. So answer two questions please.
    1) How long can my baby Garter snake go without eating?
    2) How can I get it to start eating again?

    Thanks

  71. Togot

    On December 30, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    OceanLove963, afraid I don’t have all the answers, only advice and suggestions, and my advice on this matter is to try feeding the little guy a pinkie which you should be able to get from a pet store. I’ve only raised baby garters once and didn’t come across this problem myself, but I have read that babies need more than just worms for their early dietary needs, and you should also try getting a vitamin spray for the worms that you feed the others. you can also try sliced up fish, baby snake aren’t as cued in to movement as adults are. if none of this helps, I recommend taking your pet to a exotic pet vet. your snake can last about two weeks without food, if it’s healthy. Good luck, I hope the little guy makes it

  72. bubblebutt

    On February 7, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Is it ok if I leave dragon, my snake out side in the garage?My mom
    wont let me keep it in the house because Dakota my other snake got loose and ate all my baby hampsters!

  73. Togot

    On February 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    bubblebutt, as long as it is kept warm and you provide a full spectrum light, i don’t think there would be a problem with it

  74. Jake

    On February 11, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    My Garter snake is about 6 months old now, everything is healthy as far a eating and no blisters or anything like that…But the other day i took him out and everytime he breaths i can hear this popping sound, kinda like the sound of rice crispies when you pour milk on them…Just wondering if this is normal or if you could tell me what the cause of this is…I have been feeding him worms for about a month and a half straight, is that healthy enough for him…and also he hasn’t pooped in about 3 days or ate since 3 days ago! Any answers would be appreciated!

  75. Togot

    On February 13, 2009 at 2:39 am

    Jake, try adding a vitamin spray to the worms about a minute before you feed them to your snake so it gets a better balance in it diet. Snake digestion can be pretty slow and they can go nearly a month without food so I wouldn’t worry about that. As long as he has a full spectrum light heat lamp to help him digest his meals, it should be fine.

  76. MerBear

    On March 9, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Yesterday I caught a couple of brown garter snakes (one very small, the other quite a bit thicker)and after reading your very helpful tips I put them in a 10 gallon tank with a water dish and a small chunk of a log. However, I layered the bottom with cedar mulch and I was wondering if the mulch is going to be too sharp and coarse for them and cause them harm. Also, I remember you saying having two in the same tank could be problematic because of the possibility of them fighting over food. Do you think it would be best to let one go? Thanks!

  77. Togot

    On March 10, 2009 at 2:19 am

    MerBear, the snakes’ hard scales should provide them protection, but it probably isn’t very comfortable for them. and you should definitely separate them because there is a good chance the large one will eat the smaller one. from the sound of it, i’m guessing the larger one is a female.

  78. MerBear

    On March 11, 2009 at 12:43 am

    I replaced the cedar mulch with some white aqaurium pebbles and I also let the little one go. However, after doing some research I realized that my snake is actually a Northern Brown Snake (or Dekay’s snake)and not a garter snake! I read that they get mistaken for garters often. Apparently it is already full grown at around 12 inches long. Everything I read about indicated they eat about the same things as garter snakes and require the same general care. Is there anything different I need to know about the northern brown snake?

  79. Togot

    On March 11, 2009 at 2:38 am

    MerBear, not really. I also have a brown snake for a pet and it is one of the most mellow snakes I have ever had. Mine is still pretty small and eats mostly red wriggler worms and slugs sprayed with vitamins. Just make sure you have a secure lid. Mine is a regular Houdini.

  80. nichole

    On April 30, 2009 at 11:09 am

    last week i was outside in my garden lifted up a rock and found a little yellow and light orange snake.then last night i found another snake in my kitchen last night! i dont mind them being outside where they belong but my two questions are why do they come inside the house????? and how do i keep them outside where they belong?????? thanks

  81. Togot

    On May 1, 2009 at 2:58 am

    Nichole, There are several things you can do to discourage snakes from entering your home. First off try sealing up any cracks or holes leading into your home, especially in the basement. The biggest problem areas are where water pipes and the like enter the house. You can use an expandable spray foam which will fill in these places and harden within a few hours. Keep in mind that snakes can get through very small holes so make sure you look carefully. Snakes eat mice, so try to keep your home free of them as well. You can also use mothballs to repel snakes, though I have never tried this myself.

  82. Shelly

    On May 5, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    How often is too often to shed? My garter has shed about every 2 weeks for the last 3 sheds, is this normal?

  83. Togot

    On May 6, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Shelly, the younger a snake is, the more often it sheds its skin. this shows how quickly a snake is growing, and for a baby snake, shedding more than twice a month is normal. i am not aware of any condition that causes older snakes to shed their skin excessively, so i wouldn’t be too worried about it.

  84. Kimberly

    On May 19, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Hi, i caught a garter snake in my sisters back yard and its only about 2 inches long, im just a kid with no money (until i sell one of my paintings on ebay) so i can’t buy anything big for my pet to live in, right now its in a glass jar half filled with dirt, earthworms are in the soil as well and im pretty sure he ate a few, thers three rolly pollys he hasn’t eaten any yet ( that i know of) and i don’t have a sufficient source of water cause THE JAR IS WAY TO SMALL TO PUT ANY THING IN IT… i need help convincing my adult sister, who im staying with, to buy me something big enough… do you know how much it would cost? my sister says to focus on keeping it alive and iv had a wild caught baby garter snake before but i didn’t have the right environment temps to keep it alive…any suggestions on how to take care of it?

  85. Togot

    On May 20, 2009 at 2:50 am

    Kimberly, a ten gallon aquarium is about $20 at most stores; you can look at garage sales for a better deal. Everything else you should be able to improvise without spending too much if you’re willing to do some work. An inch of dirt from your yard should make good substrate. A piece of bark could be a good hiding place. If you don’t have money for a heat lamp or pad, put the tank near a window so half of the aquarium gets direct sunlight, and put a flat rock in this area to help your snake sun bask. For food, you’ll have to look every other day or so to find worms and slugs for your pet. I hope that these suggestions help you take care of your pet within your budget, and good luck to you.

  86. Kimberly

    On May 20, 2009 at 11:43 am

    thank you,
    but might i also mention my troublesome 2 year old nephew whos stronger than most babys and could easily knock down the snakes cage… theres only one place he cant reach… the top bunk bed, but theres almost no sunlight up there and this house is always cold for some reason… any other suggestions to help?

  87. Togot

    On May 20, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Kimberly, if the inside of the house is cold, try setting the tank up in your yard

  88. Kimberly

    On May 21, 2009 at 9:36 am

    okay! i will, thank you! btw im looking into buying a cage and i might have the money soon because someone is buying a painting from me!! FOR 50$ !!!!

  89. Renai

    On May 23, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    thanks i’m moving to foxburrow and i wanted to raise them like my dad did when he was a child

  90. jethrow_j

    On June 4, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    yous its good in information but please remember to catch and release all the snakes you catch let me tell you a story i used to go to a spot as a kid that had hundreds of snakes but as people found out they started to take them home well guess what now i go there and there is nothing but trees and ducks so remember catch and release

  91. brent

    On June 15, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    hey togot,
    i found a garter snake the other day but when i took it in my house to tryed to find somthing to put it in when my mom wasent home, but, 5 mineuts later, my mom walked in the door and saw me holding a snake, my mom HATES snakes so she screamed at the top of her lungs and i could of sworn the windows almost broke :P
    so im not alowed to keep a snake in the house or my mom joked that she would move out!:P so im thinking of puting Delta (my snake) in my gorage. since its summer time, would it be ok to leave it without a heat lamp/pad? i love building the habitats for them so i researched a lot about ther habitat so i put some soil on the botom, a nice rock, and other cover, and i put a little watch tower i made in there too, and Delta LOVES it. so please get back to me ASAP or i will need to get rid of my beloved pet Delta! :( oh and im feeding him earth worms and a slug every so often, and i now know how much to feed him thanks to your VERY helpful comments, thanks in edvance! :D

  92. Togot

    On June 16, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Brent, that should be alright as long as you take him out for some sun every now and then. you may need to provide a heat lamp for him during the winter, however.

  93. brent

    On June 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    ok thanks.

  94. Michelle

    On June 19, 2009 at 3:02 am

    I have a garter snake which I’ve had for about three years. In the past couple of days she’s been convulsing and is breathing very slowly, also she is pretty much lifeless when you hold her. I have no clue as of what to do.

  95. Togot

    On June 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Michelle, it sounds like she may have an internal injury, or a vitamin deficiency. you should probably try to get her to an exotic pet vet and have her checked out

  96. Trev

    On June 24, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Can snakes die if you feed them to much?
    I feed mine three earthworms a day is that to much?

  97. Togot

    On June 25, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Trev, your snake should stop eating when it gets full. If it eats too much it will regurgitate the worm, but some snakes have been known to swallow food which was too large for them. You can make your snake fat by overfeeding, so you may want to cut back to one worm a day. You should also put it at the other end of the cage so he has to move around to get it. One trick I like to use is to take a large pair of plastic tweezers that held the worm so I can move it around. gives the snake some exercise

  98. Patrick

    On June 25, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Hi, I have an eastern brown snake, and I have concerns about what I am keeping him/her in. I am keeping it in a container 12″ x 8″ x 5″ and I was wondering if this was a suitable size. I know it isn’t ten gallons, but is it big enough for my snake to be healthy, or at least until I buy a ten gallon tank? (this could be a week or two) Also, I have some flat rocks on one side with a heat pad under the container on that side. In addition, I have dirt cover on the rest of the container with a few scattered plants and leaves on top of that, and I am going to add a water dish soon. Any suggestions for improvements I can make? And also, should this snake “warm up” to handling fairly quickly?

  99. Patrick

    On June 25, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Actually, nevermind. I have decided not to keep it. I figured it would be better off in the wild. Thanks anyway.

  100. Danielle

    On June 28, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Your info is great i have never seen the normal gerters around here but lately like every years i catch brown garter snakes today i caught one though an it was pink in color though it has the same markings as the others i’ve just never seen one pink before and when i put it with my other two it acted up and climbs the walls of the tank and the stick i have in there while the other two i caught 2 months ago just lay around my male i named Ryu has lifted his head up and has just been watching the new snake. I’m trying to see if i can breed them i’m not sure if it’ll work out though.

  101. kol

    On July 10, 2009 at 10:47 am

    hey togot i just got a garter snake ablot a week ago its a baby and 6 to 7 inches long how big should the tank be and do they eat grass hoppers lol ok thanks get back to asap .. your friend kol

  102. kol

    On July 10, 2009 at 10:50 am

    sorry typo hey togot i just got a garter snake about a week ago its a baby and 6 to 7 inches long how big should the tank be and do they eat grass hoppers lol ok thanks get back to asap .. your friend kol

  103. kol

    On July 10, 2009 at 10:57 am

    ok i just mesusured its 9 inches and grew alot from last night it sheded… ure info about them was very helpful.

  104. Togot

    On July 12, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Kol, i’ve never seen a garter snake eat a grass hopper, but they love worms. a ten gallon tank should do fine

  105. Wakam

    On July 21, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    There was a garter snake outside by my doorstep which was caught by my cat and it had a small piece of skin flapped over. I put it outside and would follow me back to the door. After 5 min. of watching it, I picked it and put it in my garden. I ran back into the house, and the snake was waiting by the door. My mom picked it up and put it by the garden and wouldn’t come back up.
    Does the snake like me or does it think I’m a heat source?

  106. Togot

    On July 22, 2009 at 2:50 am

    Wakam, i have honestly never heard of a snake behaving like this. it seems very atypical for them to follow a human, especially after being attacked. i honestly don’t know what to tell you

  107. Nic

    On October 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Hey, a few days ago me and my dad caught a small garter i think it is brownish red with a tanish brown stripe going down the top length of its body we put it in a small tank im not sure the exact gallon thing, anyway last night we bought 12 crickets and put them in the tank the snake seems to be HIDING from the crickets. everytime they cricket climes on it it just hides its head under its body… is this normal? could u help me. were gonna get better living arrangements soon. so plz help i feel connected to this snake ahha and i just want it to live and be my pet so plz help. Thanks, Nic.

  108. Nic again.

    On October 28, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    oh and btw ive never really held a snake before. since its wild if i put my hands slowly down to it will it climb onto me or will it think im food and go to bite me? thanks for the help in advance.
    Nic.

  109. Togot

    On October 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Nic, it’s possible that all the vibrations are agitating the snake. Snakes don’t have ears and cannot hear, but they sense vibrations in the ground. You might try giving it a worm instead of crickets. Make sure you wear gloves the first time you handle the snake in case it tries to bite you. Depending on its temperament, it may be relaxed or panic when you try to handle it. It probably won’t slither up your arm if you place it in the tank. Try to gently grab it around the mid section, and I mean very gently. Once in your hands, let it slither through your fingers, moving your free hand in front of the snake to prevent it from dropping. This makes the snake feel that it is safe and can get away.

  110. Nic

    On October 29, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    ya…. Also it’s a very fiesty snake it’s got a really small head cuz it’s a baby it shouldn’t hurt should it if I get bit? Will it be a quick thing or will it by try to not let go…

  111. Togot

    On November 1, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Nic, a young snake is less likely to bite, and their tiny teeth probably won’t even manage to draw blood from you. If you pick it up wit will likely coil around your fingers. Red wriggler worms are a good food for smaller snakes as well as slugs.

  112. Josh

    On November 3, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Hi, bad information. Eating goldfish will kill a garter snake. Please change that immediately. It has a chemical in it that destroys thiamine. One or two isn’t death but over time it will do it. Try guppies, or frozen salmon, ocean perch, tilapia or trout. Worms besides red wigglers are good.

  113. VICTORIA

    On November 16, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    i love these snaks they are so cool im glad yall have them on here……
    LOVE: HEATHER VICTORIA PITTS

  114. The Snake Whisperer

    On December 4, 2009 at 7:26 am

    I have raised baby garters. Overall, they are fairly easy to raise, except it’s not uncommon to end up losing a baby or two that for some reason, simply will not eat.
    The single biggest problem I’ve seen when baby garters are born, is babies dehydrating and dying before they manage to break out of the sacs. They have to free themselves from the sacs, the mother does not help.
    Baby garters are born encased in a very thin sac, rolled up in a position comparable to the mammal fetal position.
    If you witness the birth or arrive soon enough afterward that any babies that haven’t freed themselves from the sacs are still alive, you can help a baby out of the sac and clean its face so it can breathe., or clean its face and mist the baby’s body a bit with lukewarm water so it doesn’t dry out.

    A gravid female needs to be kept in an environment that is reasonably humid,which helps prevent the babies from dehydrating before they can break out of their sacs. I put a thickness of 3 or 4 paper towel halves (single select-a-size pieces are ideal size) that’s slightly damp, at one end of the cage and set the water container on it. At the other end of the cage, I put the main hide box. I use aspen snake bedding for the cage unless the mother is one that prefers carefresh bedding. Then I put aspen down on about 2/3 of the floor and carefresh just around and inside the hidebox.

    The baby garters I’ve had, all (except for one or two anorexics that never would start eating at all) started eating about a week to ten days after they were born. Out of all the foods I tried, the one that they took with enthusiasm was very tiny earthworms (easy to find in a wooded area by digging under dead branches on the ground in areas of the woods where the soil is damp)
    Some of the worms I had to cut in half because they have a habit of stretching themselves longer when they are put with a baby snake, and can intimidate the baby snakes with their lengthening act(surprised me to see the worms know when a snake is there and do that stretching out act to appear too large for the snake to be able to eat it!!!)
    At first the babies seem to want to eat about every 3 days,by about 3 months of age, they drop frequency to once a week.
    Once babies are eating well, it’s sometimes possible to trick them into eating pinky slices by scenting the pinky with an earthworm first (or sort of wrapping a tiny earthworm around a piece of pinky which often results in the baby eating both worm and pinky piece.)
    Garters in general seem reluctant to even try to eat anything that is wider than their head.
    Babies need to be kept in a container that is kept fairly humid, because even after birth they are at risk of dehydrating. A large plastic tub that’s deep enough that they cannot reach the top, with airholes in upper sides and top that are too small for the babies to squeeze through, retains humidity better than glass tanks do, and makes a good baby container.

    Baby garters are about as thick as a shoestring, shorter than a shoestring when born, and quick as lightning. They are curious and able to escape through extremely small spaces, and they will try! (which is why I like putting them in a container that’s so tall they cannot reach the top at all!) The lid should be tightly closed (duct taping it shut all the way around and ensuring there are no small spaces a baby snake can squeeze through, should hold them in.) If a container isn’t tall enough or if you leave a space big enough for a baby snake to squeeze out through that’s within their reach, you can be sure a baby will find it and escape.

    Baby garters love cardboard toilet tissue tubes to crawl in and out of. I’ve found garter snakes enjoy looking at their own reflections in mirrors and tape a small mirror on the side of the container near the hide, low enough so they can easily see it. I put a small entrance hole in the back, sides, and top of the hide as well as a main opening (right now, my babies have a Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookie box for a hide….herpers delight or to the snake phobic..cookie box from hell!!!)

  115. The Snake Whisperer

    On December 4, 2009 at 7:26 am

    I have raised baby garters. Overall, they are fairly easy to raise, except it\’s not uncommon to end up losing a baby or two that for some reason, simply will not eat.
    The single biggest problem I\’ve seen when baby garters are born, is babies dehydrating and dying before they manage to break out of the sacs. They have to free themselves from the sacs, the mother does not help.
    Baby garters are born encased in a very thin sac, rolled up in a position comparable to the mammal fetal position.
    If you witness the birth or arrive soon enough afterward that any babies that haven\’t freed themselves from the sacs are still alive, you can help a baby out of the sac and clean its face so it can breathe., or clean its face and mist the baby\’s body a bit with lukewarm water so it doesn\’t dry out.

    A gravid female needs to be kept in an environment that is reasonably humid,which helps prevent the babies from dehydrating before they can break out of their sacs. I put a thickness of 3 or 4 paper towel halves (single select-a-size pieces are ideal size) that\’s slightly damp, at one end of the cage and set the water container on it. At the other end of the cage, I put the main hide box. I use aspen snake bedding for the cage unless the mother is one that prefers carefresh bedding. Then I put aspen down on about 2/3 of the floor and carefresh just around and inside the hidebox.

    The baby garters I\’ve had, all (except for one or two anorexics that never would start eating at all) started eating about a week to ten days after they were born. Out of all the foods I tried, the one that they took with enthusiasm was very tiny earthworms (easy to find in a wooded area by digging under dead branches on the ground in areas of the woods where the soil is damp)
    Some of the worms I had to cut in half because they have a habit of stretching themselves longer when they are put with a baby snake, and can intimidate the baby snakes with their lengthening act(surprised me to see the worms know when a snake is there and do that stretching out act to appear too large for the snake to be able to eat it!!!)
    At first the babies seem to want to eat about every 3 days,by about 3 months of age, they drop frequency to once a week.
    Once babies are eating well, it\’s sometimes possible to trick them into eating pinky slices by scenting the pinky with an earthworm first (or sort of wrapping a tiny earthworm around a piece of pinky which often results in the baby eating both worm and pinky piece.)
    Garters in general seem reluctant to even try to eat anything that is wider than their head.
    Babies need to be kept in a container that is kept fairly humid, because even after birth they are at risk of dehydrating. A large plastic tub that\’s deep enough that they cannot reach the top, with airholes in upper sides and top that are too small for the babies to squeeze through, retains humidity better than glass tanks do, and makes a good baby container.

    Baby garters are about as thick as a shoestring, shorter than a shoestring when born, and quick as lightning. They are curious and able to escape through extremely small spaces, and they will try! (which is why I like putting them in a container that\’s so tall they cannot reach the top at all!) The lid should be tightly closed (duct taping it shut all the way around and ensuring there are no small spaces a baby snake can squeeze through, should hold them in.) If a container isn\’t tall enough or if you leave a space big enough for a baby snake to squeeze out through that\’s within their reach, you can be sure a baby will find it and escape.

    Baby garters love cardboard toilet tissue tubes to crawl in and out of. I\’ve found garter snakes enjoy looking at their own reflections in mirrors and tape a small mirror on the side of the container near the hide, low enough so they can easily see it. I put a small entrance hole in the back, sides, and top of the hide as well as a main opening (right now, my babies have a Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookie box for a hide….herpers delight or to the snake phobic..cookie box from hell!!!)

  116. The Snake Whisperer

    On December 4, 2009 at 7:26 am

    I have raised baby garters. Overall, they are fairly easy to raise, except it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s not uncommon to end up losing a baby or two that for some reason, simply will not eat.
    The single biggest problem I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve seen when baby garters are born, is babies dehydrating and dying before they manage to break out of the sacs. They have to free themselves from the sacs, the mother does not help.
    Baby garters are born encased in a very thin sac, rolled up in a position comparable to the mammal fetal position.
    If you witness the birth or arrive soon enough afterward that any babies that haven\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t freed themselves from the sacs are still alive, you can help a baby out of the sac and clean its face so it can breathe., or clean its face and mist the baby\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s body a bit with lukewarm water so it doesn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t dry out.

    A gravid female needs to be kept in an environment that is reasonably humid,which helps prevent the babies from dehydrating before they can break out of their sacs. I put a thickness of 3 or 4 paper towel halves (single select-a-size pieces are ideal size) that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s slightly damp, at one end of the cage and set the water container on it. At the other end of the cage, I put the main hide box. I use aspen snake bedding for the cage unless the mother is one that prefers carefresh bedding. Then I put aspen down on about 2/3 of the floor and carefresh just around and inside the hidebox.

    The baby garters I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve had, all (except for one or two anorexics that never would start eating at all) started eating about a week to ten days after they were born. Out of all the foods I tried, the one that they took with enthusiasm was very tiny earthworms (easy to find in a wooded area by digging under dead branches on the ground in areas of the woods where the soil is damp)
    Some of the worms I had to cut in half because they have a habit of stretching themselves longer when they are put with a baby snake, and can intimidate the baby snakes with their lengthening act(surprised me to see the worms know when a snake is there and do that stretching out act to appear too large for the snake to be able to eat it!!!)
    At first the babies seem to want to eat about every 3 days,by about 3 months of age, they drop frequency to once a week.
    Once babies are eating well, it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s sometimes possible to trick them into eating pinky slices by scenting the pinky with an earthworm first (or sort of wrapping a tiny earthworm around a piece of pinky which often results in the baby eating both worm and pinky piece.)
    Garters in general seem reluctant to even try to eat anything that is wider than their head.
    Babies need to be kept in a container that is kept fairly humid, because even after birth they are at risk of dehydrating. A large plastic tub that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s deep enough that they cannot reach the top, with airholes in upper sides and top that are too small for the babies to squeeze through, retains humidity better than glass tanks do, and makes a good baby container.

    Baby garters are about as thick as a shoestring, shorter than a shoestring when born, and quick as lightning. They are curious and able to escape through extremely small spaces, and they will try! (which is why I like putting them in a container that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s so tall they cannot reach the top at all!) The lid should be tightly closed (duct taping it shut all the way around and ensuring there are no small spaces a baby snake can squeeze through, should hold them in.) If a container isn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t tall enough or if you leave a space big enough for a baby snake to squeeze out through that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s within their reach, you can be sure a baby will find it and escape.

    Baby garters love cardboard toilet tissue tubes to crawl in and out of. I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve found garter snakes enjoy looking at their own reflections in mirrors and tape a small mirror on the side of the container near the hide, low enough so they can easily see it. I put a small entrance hole in the back, sides, and top of the hide as well as a main opening (right now, my babies have a Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookie box for a hide….herpers delight or to the snake phobic..cookie box from hell!!!)

  117. The Snake Whisperer

    On December 4, 2009 at 7:27 am

    I have raised baby garters. Overall, they are fairly easy to raise, except it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s not uncommon to end up losing a baby or two that for some reason, simply will not eat.
    The single biggest problem I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve seen when baby garters are born, is babies dehydrating and dying before they manage to break out of the sacs. They have to free themselves from the sacs, the mother does not help.
    Baby garters are born encased in a very thin sac, rolled up in a position comparable to the mammal fetal position.
    If you witness the birth or arrive soon enough afterward that any babies that haven\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t freed themselves from the sacs are still alive, you can help a baby out of the sac and clean its face so it can breathe., or clean its face and mist the baby\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s body a bit with lukewarm water so it doesn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t dry out.

    A gravid female needs to be kept in an environment that is reasonably humid,which helps prevent the babies from dehydrating before they can break out of their sacs. I put a thickness of 3 or 4 paper towel halves (single select-a-size pieces are ideal size) that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s slightly damp, at one end of the cage and set the water container on it. At the other end of the cage, I put the main hide box. I use aspen snake bedding for the cage unless the mother is one that prefers carefresh bedding. Then I put aspen down on about 2/3 of the floor and carefresh just around and inside the hidebox.

    The baby garters I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve had, all (except for one or two anorexics that never would start eating at all) started eating about a week to ten days after they were born. Out of all the foods I tried, the one that they took with enthusiasm was very tiny earthworms (easy to find in a wooded area by digging under dead branches on the ground in areas of the woods where the soil is damp)
    Some of the worms I had to cut in half because they have a habit of stretching themselves longer when they are put with a baby snake, and can intimidate the baby snakes with their lengthening act(surprised me to see the worms know when a snake is there and do that stretching out act to appear too large for the snake to be able to eat it!!!)
    At first the babies seem to want to eat about every 3 days,by about 3 months of age, they drop frequency to once a week.
    Once babies are eating well, it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s sometimes possible to trick them into eating pinky slices by scenting the pinky with an earthworm first (or sort of wrapping a tiny earthworm around a piece of pinky which often results in the baby eating both worm and pinky piece.)
    Garters in general seem reluctant to even try to eat anything that is wider than their head.
    Babies need to be kept in a container that is kept fairly humid, because even after birth they are at risk of dehydrating. A large plastic tub that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s deep enough that they cannot reach the top, with airholes in upper sides and top that are too small for the babies to squeeze through, retains humidity better than glass tanks do, and makes a good baby container.

    Baby garters are about as thick as a shoestring, shorter than a shoestring when born, and quick as lightning. They are curious and able to escape through extremely small spaces, and they will try! (which is why I like putting them in a container that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s so tall they cannot reach the top at all!) The lid should be tightly closed (duct taping it shut all the way around and ensuring there are no small spaces a baby snake can squeeze through, should hold them in.) If a container isn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t tall enough or if you leave a space big enough for a baby snake to squeeze out through that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s within their reach, you can be sure a baby will find it and escape.

    Baby garters love cardboard toilet tissue tubes to crawl in and out of. I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ve found garter snakes enjoy looking at their own reflections in mirrors and tape a small mirror on the side of the container near the hide, low enough so they can easily see it. I put a small entrance hole in the back, sides, and top of the hide as well as a main opening (right now, my babies have a Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookie box for a hide….herpers delight or to the snake phobic..cookie box from hell!!!)

  118. Nathan

    On February 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    hi, quick question. when do i try to catch the snakes? i know i can because i live next to a creek with big trees and lots of grass and lots of shade. (gotta love oregon) but do i try during spring break or later or sooner? is summer a good time?

  119. Nathan

    On February 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    By the way, this question was for Tagot.

  120. Nathan

    On February 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    By the way, this question was for Tagot. thanks!

  121. Togot

    On February 23, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Nathan, Pretty much anytime between spring and fall should be good for finding garter snakes. The best time to catch them is early morning when they are still sluggish and coming out to sun themselves. And it’s Togot, not Tagot.

  122. Nathan

    On February 23, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    thank you, Togot! i looked up somewhere that the BEST time is EARLY spring when the snakes begin to mate. early spring being spring break, i am able to wake up in the morning and go catch snakes (im in 5th grade) is night a good time too?
    will rain slow when they poke their heads out?
    sorry for all the questions

  123. Nathan

    On February 23, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    hey, i was reading the other postings and i hear of people that say they have 2 feet long garters of something. i never find snakes over 6 inches long, except one i raised which i think was abot a foot long. is there something wrong with my habitat and snakes dont live long enough to get long, or do you think i am just encountering ribbons?
    PS, i hardly ever see garters(?) with yellow stripes.

  124. Nathan from the past 2 posts

    On February 23, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    By habitat I meant my backyard. Is it absolutley nescessary to have a UV light and a very heated side of the habitat? I have never done anything special for my habitats. What I do is I get dirt and tear up grass and shove it in the habitat. The best ribbon/garter snake I have ever raised had a simple habitat, a layer of dirt, a layer of grass, hiding places (I’ve had many other animals before, they all need it) and a water bowl. Striper loved to swim, so I got a bowl like the kind you eat in and filled it halfway. He didn’t live too long, probably because i didn’t know it ate anything other than worms and slugs. Plus I overfed it, didn’t do my homework… It seemed happy with it’s habitat, though. I tried to make it as natural as possible which was my goal. Was that a bad choice? The habitat part? What should I do differently?
    Sorry for the abundant questions. Thank you, Togot!
    Nathan

  125. Nathan

    On February 24, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Oh, by the way, when do you check this? I’m coming back over and over looking for an answer (not saying you’re slow, I really appreciate it)

  126. Togot

    On February 24, 2010 at 4:25 am

    True, snakes mate in the spring in very large groups. You might also catch them leaving their hibernation caves. During winter garter snakes gather together in small caves and burrows and in early spring they emerge on mass. I’ve actually witnessed this once, and it was very impressive. You might be getting ribbons or males. Female garter snakes are larger than the males. I hear a lot of conflicting advice on whether or not garter snakes need UV rays, and my philosophy is better safe than sorry. They do need a heat source though, whether it be a light or heating pad, though I don’t recommend hot rocks. Snakes are cold blooded animals and need to regulate their body temperature in order to digest food. The only thing I can think to add to your tank would be a piece of bark or a rock for them to rub against when shedding their skin. I try to check my comments section for this site once a day, usually after I get home from work at around 2 A.M. the best time to look for responses in in the morning.

  127. Nathan

    On February 24, 2010 at 11:18 am

    It is almost spring break, the beginning of spring, but it’s rainy over here! I’m afraid since it’s getting colder we might not get very many snakes. I have a UV light that I used for my turtle. Will that be too hot? And when you said I could use a heating pad, do I have to get a special one from the pet store, or use our houshold one?
    Thanks! Drenched in Oregon

  128. Snake Kid

    On February 24, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Hey, Togot. This is Nathan, I got an account, so now I will be Snake Kid (reffering to my odd attraction to reptile/amphibians)

  129. Snake Kid

    On February 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Would you suggest getting a snake from the store? I never do, I like the fact that they are wild, but is there an advantage to getting one from the store? And do I have to go buy a 10 gal. tank, or will my small 5 gal. tank work for my female/ribbon snake?

  130. Togot

    On February 25, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Nathan/Snake Kid, A heating lamp at one end of the tank should be fine. If you feel it’s too hot, raise the lamp higher away from the tank. Make sure that the snake’s shelter is at the darker end of the tank. This will allow the snake to move from the warm area to the cold area and regulate its own body temperature. You should use the heating pads from the store. They have an adhesive and attach under your tank, though I recommend elevating your tank off of whatever surface it is on to prevent excessive heat from being trapped underneath. You can use a light, or a pad, but you shouldn’t use both. I’ve never bought a snake before, and I’ve never seen any store that sells garter snakes. As for the tank size, use your own judgment on what would be comfortable for your pet.

  131. karley

    On April 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    my garner snake hasone eye i cought him a few days ago will he survive with only 1 eye?

  132. Togot

    On April 16, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Karley, snakes don’t rely in their vision too much, so as long as the eye isn’t infected your pet should be ok. It’s chances might be a little better in captivity though, so take good care of it.

  133. karley

    On April 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    thank you soo much and i do take care of it he loves to sit on my laptop he even goes on walks with me well he doesnt walk he lays in my shirt but he is calmer then my ball pythons lol

  134. Stephen

    On April 18, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    hello togot, i just caught a garter snake. (my dad says he is a garter snake and he fits the description on your blog thingy and other sites), and I know they eat pinky mice, minnows, guppies, earthworms etc., and i want to know what you think is best for them and what i should put in its cage. i find your site very useful. also, what size water bowl should i use and how should it be placed in the bowl. please respond. Thanks!

  135. Stephen

    On April 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    also, how long does it usually take for them to warm up to humans, and how can i tell how old he/she is?

  136. Stephen

    On April 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    also, how long does it usually take for them to warm up to humans, and how can i tell how old it is?

  137. Togot

    On April 19, 2010 at 2:23 am

    Stephen, I mostly fed mine a diet of earth worms with vitamin powder sprinkled on them once a month and the occasional gold fish treat. Garter snakes like water, so a large bowl is fine. How quickly it will get used to you depends on what it’s been through before it met you. I once found an injured snake with many other scars which I nursed back to health, but it never warmed up to me. The animal was traumatized and bit at anything that moved. I eventually released her in the woods near my house, not wanting to cause her more stress with captivity. Another snake I found in my backyard allowed me to pick him up and handle him immediately. I advise wearing gloves the first time you try to handle your pet until your confident it won’t try to bite you, but don’t try to handle a snake too often or it may become irritated. As for the age, I’m afraid there’s no sure way to tell that other than to guess based on its size.

  138. Stephen

    On April 19, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    thank you! i will use gloves and hope it likes people more than that other snake with the scars did. i hope to be a good snake owner to my garter snake

  139. Sharon

    On April 22, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    This was awesome. My grandson found one and it was friendly right away so I said ok.. he has been asking for a snake for so long but the whole mouse this…ewww… So I’m loving the garter snake…. I just want to thank you for all the info you share, you have answered all my questions… just wanted to thank you … more useful than all the sites I’ve looked at… thanks again

  140. Trey

    On April 22, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    hey sorry to ruin your little moment, but garter snakes are mildy venomous, their venom is neurotixic and is not toxic enough to kill humans, or make them sick and garter snakes bite however when they bite you can not feel it. garter snakes do not need gloves to be picked up. If you pick up a female pregnant garter snake or a full of food garter snake by the tail there is a possibility of digestion problems and birth problems. Injured garter snakes are best leeft alone. darwin,s survival of the fittest. unless u have had yeaars of training with snakes leave most snakes alone. especially if you dont know what they are

  141. Trey

    On April 22, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I have 2 pregnant females and a small male. they eat sticklebacks, earthworms and small beetles. i have fed one a frog at one point. the terrerium in their aquarium is mud and sand blended on one side with field grass and hay covering it. with a small den dug into the dirt supported with wood. on the other half it is a mini pond with fish in it.

  142. Togot

    On April 23, 2010 at 3:43 am

    Trey, although you didn’t really ask a question, the snake I cared for was injured by my brother mowing the lawn, so I felt obligated to help it as best I could. I have been bitten several times by garter snakes (mostly as a child), you can feel their teeth and although they are small their bites can draw blood. Like all snakes their teeth point backwards toward their throat which can make it difficult to get them off of you, especially for someone who is unfamiliar with handling them and might panic, so wearing gloves is not an unwise precaution until a person gets used to them. Also, I find the best way to handle a garter snake is not to grab it by the tail which causes the animal stress, but to gently lift it and let it move through your fingers without really gripping the animal. This let’s the snake feel less threatened. Of course this method only works if the animal was relatively calm to begin with.

  143. luke-da-duke

    On May 5, 2010 at 4:20 am

    hey TOGOT, got a few Q’s,

    ok so i went outside yesterday looking for garter snakes, i want one as a pet, after looking for one for 5 hours i saw a yellow and black long stiped snake (guessing on what i thought i saw), i didnt catch it in time before it got out of sight, so im trying again tomarrow! but my Q. is if i catch a wild one should i be worried about it haveing bacteriea or diseases? like if touch it i could die? can i tell by looking at it or should i take it to atlis pet shop for more info on that?

    and another thing if u dont mind, would it be ok to split off a 20gal tank with some kinda border to make the tank 50/50 and put a garter in one side and a tarantula in the other side? cause all i have till june 15th is my 20gal and i need a place for my tranchula too.

    and sorry but 1 more thing, if for some reason they get ahold of eatchother who would be likely to die? i would hate for that to happen but if they fight how should i stop it?

    ps: the tranchula is a rose haird.

  144. luke-da-duke

    On May 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    hello… togot? i need to know soon please! i have been trying to catch some the past 3 days and im worried what to do if i catch one! please let me know! thank you!

  145. Togot

    On May 7, 2010 at 2:59 am

    luke-da-duke, any wild animal can carry disease which is why you should wash your hands with antibacterial soap after handling them. Your tank setup should be fine. My honest guess is that the animals would avoid each other. Unless your tarantula is the size of a bird eating spider, it probably wouldn’t attack something as big as the average garter snake, and vice versa, but I might be wrong on this matter. Suffice to say, it’s best to keep them separate.

  146. luke-da-duke

    On May 10, 2010 at 12:44 am

    ok thanks, i got a new tank from friend, and cant find any garters outside, so im thinkin of getting a 2 foot python, for 100 but not sure! thanks tho, u where lots of help! have a great day!

  147. Travis

    On May 10, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    I caught a lil baby garter snake about 11/12 days ago and can not get it to eat worms. I’ve put him in a seperate container with the small worms that I found in my back yard and the snake just moves around in there with the worms. It even touches then with his tounge but dosn’t try to eat them. I’m getting very worried. Do you have any suggestions?

  148. Togot

    On May 11, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Travis, snakes like all reptiles are cold blooded which means they are more active, and more hungry, when warm. Try adding a heat lamp to warm your pet up. This might stimulate his appetite.

  149. Travis

    On May 11, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I have a heat rock in the tank. Is there any other advice you can throw my way??? Another question I have is there is a creek in my back yard. Would it be ok to catch minnows out of it and try to feed them to the snake?

  150. Togot

    On May 18, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Travis, as long as they are small enough, it shouldn’t be a problem. The only other reason I can think of is that the snake just isn’t hungry, or that it’s too stressed to eat

  151. zack

    On May 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    i found a garter snake 3 days ago and it hasnt eatenanything i have given ityet i have given him worms and crickets should i buy guppies for her to eat

  152. Togot

    On May 31, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Zack, it’s worth a try, and make sure the snake has a heat source to help it’s metabolism and appetite.

  153. Ryan the 10 year old

    On June 21, 2010 at 10:11 am

    i have a big woods but do u think they will be in there if they are were

  154. Togot

    On June 22, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Ryan the 10 year old, yes there are probably garter snakes, along with a few other species. you will probably find the garter snakes near a water source

  155. ryan the 10 year old

    On June 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    thanx i alway look in the creek near me but never find one

  156. Lee

    On June 26, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    DO NOT FEED YOUR GARTER GOLDFISH, I am sorry there is a ton of useful information on this blog but DO NOT feed them goldfish it will cause a vitamin b1 problem and KILL your snake. they eat fish yes but not gold fish. minnows frogs and earthworms, the latter shouldnt be given often as it will also casue problems in large amounts but can be used as it is usually a fav of garters.

    I have over 14 years xp raising snakes.

  157. Taylor

    On June 28, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Togot, 3 years of helping people on this site. Wow, good job. I’ve read all the comments on this page. The only question I don’t think you’ve answered is, will it die of stress when i first capture it. How can i prevent this? Thank you for all of your help.

  158. Togot

    On June 28, 2010 at 1:56 am

    Taylor, I can’t imagine causing enough stress to a snake to kill it during capture unless you do it deliberately. I’ve never come across this problem, and one of my old snakes was covered in scars when I found him, suggesting he had been through a lot of stress in his life. Just don’t squeeze them too hard, and leave them alone for a few hours after you’ve put them in their enclosure so they can calm down, and they should be fine. Making sure they have something to hide under will further aid them in feeling safe and secure.

  159. Lizzie

    On June 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I tried with a ribbon snake but it got away. :( I have one already my dad caught for me and he is like 4 years old. Any ideas on how to get one a different way? My snake now could die in a couple years so i need tips. Hey by the way everyone in winter if tyou hav e a fireplace and live in woods they can get in through it andin ur garage. :)

  160. Eldorado

    On June 29, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    We found a young ribbon snake a week ago, and we’ve done our best to take care of him. I’ve tried to feed him feeder fish, nightcrawlers, etc, but he just won’t eat. Now, he’s getting really lethargic and I’m worried about the poor little guy. We’d love to keep him as a pet, but I don’t want to kill him.

    Any ideas?

  161. Togot

    On July 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Lizzie, I’m not sure what you mean by “different way” if you are referring to setting traps then no, I don’t know how to make any kind of garter snake traps. The only method I’ve ever used for catching them is to go out and look for them in habitats that they frequent. Your actual capture method can vary from Steve Irwin’s, grab them by the tail and toss them into a bag method, to grabbing them behind the head. If you are referring to something else, please be more specific.

  162. Togot

    On July 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Eldorado, lethargy might indicate he’s too cold. Do you have a heat lamp for him? This might also explain his lack of appetite as a snake’s metabolism is tied in to their body temperature.

  163. jsbf98

    On July 18, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    my grand parents live on a farm and here and there i see a garter snake butt now that im looking for them i cant find a single 1 is it to late in the year , am i looking in the wrong time of day , am i looking in the wrong places ?
    heeellp

  164. Togot

    On July 20, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Jsbf98, I doubt it’s too late in the year to find them. If it’s as hot in your area as it is in mine, the snakes are probably hiding in the shade most of they day, so you might have the best luck early in the morning, or when it starts to get dark and things start to cool down. Garter snakes can usually be found near water sources, lakes and rivers. Hey like to eat small fish and earth worms. Try looking under logs and rocks in these areas. They also love sandstone.

  165. jsbf98

    On July 31, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    How early in the morning should I look and should a stream work because the pond is in the middle of a field and what is sand stone ?

  166. Togot

    On August 2, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    usually after the sun comes up and things just start warming up. snakes like to sun themselves during this period. yes, a stream should be just fine. sandstone is a tannish rock which is very abrasive and often deteriorates in a way which crates little ledges in the sides which garter snakes like to wedge themselves in and rub against to shed their skins

  167. Rachella

    On September 5, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Is it ok for my garter snake to be curled up in his water dish for most of the day? I am not sure if he is shedding. Some of his scales are falling off. He is active and healthy. He eats well too.

  168. Sam

    On September 5, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Today I caught a garter snake in my yard. His head looks kind of blue. I have been holding him for a while and he seems pretty happy. I have him in a 20 gallon tank with a big water bowl, fake plants, heat lamp, and a rock that he can go under. I have found some tadpoles outside and I put them in a bowl for him. He hasn’t even tried to eat them yet. He is about 10 inches. What would be a good food for me to start feeding him. In how long should I be worried if he doesn’t eat. He regurgitated something that looked like a tree frog. Should I be worried? Thank you.

  169. Sam

    On September 5, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Today I caught a garter snake in my yard. His head looks kind of blue. I have been holding him for a while and he seems pretty happy. I have him in a 20 gallon tank with a big water bowl, fake plants, heat lamp, and a rock that he can go under. I have found some tadpoles outside and I put them in a bowl for him. He hasn\\\’t even tried to eat them yet. He is about 10 inches. What would be a good food for me to start feeding him. In how long should I be worried if he doesn\\\’t eat. He regurgitated something that looked like a tree frog. Should I be worried? Thank you.

  170. Sam

    On September 5, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Today I caught a garter snake in my yard. His head looks kind of blue. I have been holding him for a while and he seems pretty happy. I have him in a 20 gallon tank with a big water bowl, fake plants, heat lamp, and a rock that he can go under. I have found some tadpoles outside and I put them in a bowl for him. He hasn\\\\\\\’t even tried to eat them yet. He is about 10 inches. What would be a good food for me to start feeding him. In how long should I be worried if he doesn\\\\\\\’t eat. He regurgitated something that looked like a tree frog. Should I be worried? Thank you.

  171. Sam

    On September 5, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Today I caught a garter snake in my yard. His head looks kind of blue. I have been holding him for a while and he seems pretty happy. I have him in a 20 gallon tank with a big water bowl, fake plants, heat lamp, and a rock that he can go under. I have found some tadpoles outside and I put them in a bowl for him. He hasn\\\\\\\’t even tried to eat them yet. He is about 10 inches. What would be a good food for me to start feeding him. In how long should I be worried if he doesn\\\\\\\’t eat. He regurgitated something that looked like a tree frog. Should I be worried? Thank you.

  172. Togot

    On September 6, 2010 at 3:15 am

    Rachella, it may be that he simply likes that spot. It could be the water, or the tight, snug space. If he is shedding, his skin will appear pale, and it should all come off together for the most part. Water and humidity help loosen up reptilian skin that’s about to be shed, and it will rub up against rough objects to help get it off. There shouldn’t be any problems with your snake choosing its water dish as its favorite spot

  173. Togot

    On September 6, 2010 at 3:19 am

    Sam, earth worms are a pretty good food for snakes. They are meaty and easy to swallow. Their sticky bodies also hold vitamin powder rather well. A snake can go several weeks without eating, but it’s best to try to feed them at least once a week. Your pet may have thrown up due to stress. When a snake swallows a large meal, they slow down as their body tries to digest it. This leaves them feeling vulnerable.

  174. Sam

    On September 6, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Thank you, your information has been very helpful to me.
    Sam

  175. Caleb

    On September 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Ive had a garter snake for 3 weeks at first I was feeding it minnows and he was eating them now i’m feeding it slugs and he’s not eating them how should i get him to eat my food i offer?

  176. Caleb

    On September 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Ive had a garter snake for 3 weeks at first I was feeding it minnows and he was eating them now i\’m feeding it slugs and he\’s not eating them how should i get him to eat my food i offer?

  177. Togot

    On September 9, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Caleb, you can try wiggling something near the slug to get your snake’s attention. Nothing too big, just a small twig should be enough. Once he gets excited and flicks his tongue, if he’s hungry he should eat it

  178. jake

    On September 13, 2010 at 3:35 am

    hey i just caught a gartner snake today fishing and i was wondering if hamster bedding is good? and also ive had a one before i just used grass can i use that to or no? and i was wondering how to tell if its a female or male. and i have plenty more questions after you answer my questions thank you.

  179. jake

    On September 13, 2010 at 3:42 am

    jake here again, another thing is it safe for diesel (snake’s name) to eat leeches? and also is a a 100 gallon tank to much casue its the only other extra one except for my like 3 gallon tarantula cage.

  180. Togot

    On September 14, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Jake, I honestly don’t know how a snake would react to hamster bedding. it certainly isn’t something it would be used to. Most owners use sand or dirt. A 100 gallon tank is big, but the only problem it will cause is you finding your pet in it. Males are smaller, and slimmer than females. I’ve never fed my pets leeches before, but I imagine the snake’s stomach acid would kill it before it did any harm, though the ideal food is earthworms or small fish.

  181. jake

    On September 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    thank you. i really appreciate the help and i think he likes the grass anyways so im just going to keep using that. and for food just keep using the nightcrawlers and little minnows. and is it a good sign that he dont put out that odor anymore? and i feed him a dwarf frog are those a good diet for them?

  182. Togot

    On September 16, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Jake, yes, not using the odor defense means it is getting more used to being handled. Garter snakes do tend to eat small frogs, but it might be hard to provide enough of them for a stable diet.

  183. jake

    On September 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    jake, well i work at walmart so i get a discount on them lol. but thanks for all the help..i really do appreciate youir dedication and knowledge to this website.

  184. Kelsey

    On September 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    hi. i found a gartner snake today . its about the size of a yellow pencil. i had a few questions

    1. is sad okay for the bottom? just sand from a pet shop. and how much about a inch?

    2. i have a plastic bowl for its water dish. its about 2 inchs tall. will my snake be able to get into it?

  185. Togot

    On September 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Kelsey, Yes, an inch or two of pet store sand should be fine. Your snake should have no trouble getting over the rim of the water dish. Snakes are surprising climbers

  186. foxergod

    On October 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I need advice! so i have three garters one is about 20″ and the other 2 are around 12″. i recently caught the two smaller ones and put them in with my big one. i’ve been feeding the big one adult mice with no problem, so i bought the small ones fish and the big one a mouse and threw it in, they all ignored the mouse. so i figure the big guys full and i’ll return the mouse in the morning.
    when i wake up im looking for the mouse and cant find him so i check the snakes and notice one of the small ones has a huge bulge but it looks like maby an elbow or foot is pushing up hard from inside. i know snakes can stretch to fit food much bigger than themselves but is their a limit? not sure if their would be much i can do at this point. thanks oh and other than the bulge hes fine, no cuts or scrapes

  187. Togot

    On October 4, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Foxergod, snakes do have a limit to how much they can stretch, but the bigger problem is if something they swallow tears their insides such as a claw or horn, though that mostly happens with large constrictors when they eat gazelles. In any case, there isn’t much you can do other than provide the snake with heat to help speed up its digestion, and try not to stress it

  188. tj

    On October 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    small garter ate a snail.. shell cut to the skin and now it is all gimped up from the middle down. it has shed several times and the more it sheds the more gimmped looking it gets.
    It is normal lookin till the middle, then the scar where it cut through, then has bumps going down the lower half. The are hard to the touch. I can only use top half of its body but cant really move the lower half.

    question is: is there any way to fix this for it.

  189. SnowBerey

    On October 28, 2010 at 1:48 am

    hi i just found a garter snake the 27 and my mom hates snakes and she wants it to be outside or inside… and im afraid if i leave it outside it will freeze… and suggstions?

  190. SnowBerey

    On October 28, 2010 at 1:57 am

    P.S. my dad also wants to keep so im not alone here :)

  191. Togot

    On October 28, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Tj, it sounds like you’re describing scaring. It should decrease with time, but if it’s bad enough it may be a permanent problem. There’s no way that I know of short of surgery to undo it.

  192. Togot

    On October 28, 2010 at 3:11 am

    SnowBerey, depending on where you live, if it’s not bellow freezing outside, the snake should be alright, though I would recommend releasing it around noon when the sun is out to give it the best chances. If you’re talking about keeping it, then inside is best, especially since winter is approaching and snakes hibernate in underground caves during those months.

  193. SnowBerey

    On October 28, 2010 at 10:09 am

    thank you

  194. SnowBerey

    On October 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

    do garter snake hibernate in the winter if kept in a warm enough place

  195. SnowBerey

    On October 28, 2010 at 10:40 am

    ok i found another baby garter snake in my front yard. i will not keep this one but it is a red-orange on top, and blackish brown on the side. is that a garter snake or ribbon snake?

  196. Togot

    On October 29, 2010 at 3:31 am

    SnowBerey, they may become less active, but I’ve never had one completely shut down if a heat source was made available. As for the small snake you caught, here is a comparison between the two species to help you out. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcwetboy/27151055/

  197. Sno3berey

    On October 29, 2010 at 10:11 am

    thank you
    it seems to be a ribbon snake with a little more color maybe

  198. daniel

    On November 11, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    i looked over by our stream but i only found water moccasins.heeelllppp

  199. Togot

    On November 12, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Daniel, if you have venomous snakes near you, you should definitely take great caution while looking for a non-venomous species. It’s starting to get cold now, so you might want to wait until spring when they will be emerging from their hibernation chambers. Your best bet might be to catch them while mating. One female will be swarmed by dozens of males, so they should be easy to spot out in the open

  200. psh

    On November 13, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    i just got my garter snake, its a male its in a 10 gal tank with all u said water, place to hide etc.its winter here gets kinda chilly so at the pet store the lady i talked to there said a heat lamp with 50w bulb would work great for him to keep warm, that she has one. but i bought some crickets….will they eat those? she said they will but its been a few days and he hasnt touched one…..should i get it something else??

  201. psh

    On November 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Oh and i’ve noticed he gets really nervous around my guy friends and bright colored shirts. is that normal?

  202. Togot

    On November 14, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Psh, I’ve never fed my snakes crickets because of all the spiny body parts. I usually feed them earthworms or small feeder fish because they go down much easier. I’m not sure about the bright shirts

  203. joe

    On February 14, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Do I have to use vitamin powder, or will fish and worms work?

  204. Togot

    On February 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Joe, adding vitamin powder once in awhile helps balance out your pet’s diet. Like most animals, just feeding one or two types of food isn’t a full diet.

  205. Scott

    On April 20, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I recently caught a garter snake and tried feeding it worms and fish but the snake refuses to eat them. Do you have any suggestions on what I should feed it? Answer would be appreciated.

  206. Scott25

    On April 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Also my recently caught snake is in the 12-16in range if that affects feeding

  207. Togot

    On April 21, 2011 at 3:46 am

    Scott, it might have less to do with what you’re offering, and more to do with its living arrangement. If you recently caught him, he might be stressed, or he could be too cold. A snake’s metabolism is regulated by external temperature. The warmer the snake, the more hungry it will get. You might try providing a heat source and see if that helps. As long as the food is small enough for it to swallow, it should eat if it’s hungry.

  208. Scott

    On April 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks for your help I’ll try adding more heat to the living arrangement.

  209. Scott

    On April 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    I added more heat to my tank and my snake seems to be more active thanks again for your help it worked great and he seems to have gotten his appetite back.. Btw your like the snake whisperer togot you should get your on tv show ith all his advice you have thanks again Scott

  210. Scott1

    On April 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I added more heat to my tank and my snake seems to be more active thanks again for your help it worked great and he seems to have gotten his appetite back.. Btw your like the snake whisperer togot you should get your on tv show ith all his advice you have thanks again Scott

  211. Scott1

    On April 21, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I now have another question the snake I caught lived around gravel so I put gravel in my tank is that a good or bad substrate I also live in new your so is the gravel a good idea? He doesn’t seem to have a bad reaction to the gravel.

  212. Togot

    On April 22, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Scott1, you might want to mix some soil in with it, probably sand. Although snakes have scales, rough substrate can still agitate them. At the very least put in a piece of wood large enough for the snake to coil up on if it wants off the gravel.

  213. Scott1

    On April 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I do have two large sticks for my snake to crawl up on the tank I am keeping my snake in is also 40 gal. And he seems to be happy now with more heat.

  214. Janet

    On April 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I have a garter snake..he has everything he needs in his tank, a heating bad and rock, a little tree thing that he climbs on and plenty of food…but its like he wont eat…i dont know what to do…

  215. Togot

    On May 2, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Janet, you can try tapping on the glass lightly to get the snake’s attention. Once its got its tongue flicking, try dropping a worm near it and see if that entices its appetite.

  216. Chris

    On August 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I just caught a garter snake like 4 days ago, it hasnt eatin yet. I have tried worms, but it just ignores them. I think its a girl and is about 20 ins, Do they normally not eat much?

  217. Togot

    On August 10, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Chris, if they are kept warm, snakes usually have healthy appetites. you can try lightly tapping on the glass of the tank, or wiggling the worm in front of her first to try and get her excited and see if that helps entice her

  218. Chris

    On August 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I am keeping the tank at about 80 degrees, and I have tried both of those things. I think she still needs to get used to being in captivity. She gets scared when I try and feed her. Should i put a heeting pad in to make the tank warmer?

  219. Chris

    On August 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I am keeping the snake at 80 degrees, is that warm enough? I have tried tapping the glass, and wriggling the warm, and she just seemed scared of me. Maybe she still isn’t used to being captive?

  220. Chris

    On August 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    OHH yay! The tapping glass worked, i got her to smell the food, then dropped it in front of her. As soon as the worm moved, she bit it. She ate 3 worms tonite, is that enough? And how ofter should she eat?

  221. Togot

    On August 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Chris, I’m glad you got her eating. Three in one day should be good. As for the heat, you can try adding an under the tank heating pad to one side which will give you a heat gradient, so your pet can move to wherever it feels comfortable, just make sure you have some separation from the tank and the surface it’s resting on so you don’t get a build up of heat underneath.

  222. Chris

    On August 18, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Allright thank you! I have wood shavings about 2 inches high for the tank. My friend told me that they can also eat a garden toad, i am wondering if they are poisinous to them? She is also eating minnows now! She seems to like eating fish and worms so far.

  223. Brandon

    On August 18, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    hi there, i just recently caught a garter snake that well over 20 inches so i was wondering how old he/she might be. and i was was wondering if they have ever been know to eat wolf spiders? there are wolf spiders all over my yard and where i caught it.an i live in the cascade mountans in washington state if that help at all, thanks and great job on the site.

  224. brandon

    On August 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    update. i was able to get a pretty good measurement an shes about 25-27 inches long and thick so im guessing its a she. and i was also curious as to if fresh trout minnows from a creek running from a fresh spring would be safe fish food for her, im confident the creek is clean with no dams or any other manmade structures around.thanks again

  225. Brandon

    On August 19, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    hey its Brandon from the last to post iv done more digging on the internet about trout so now im gonna freeze some,but that takes awhile. so i still need to know if wolf spiders are ok or not i havent found anything regarding that, oh and a estimation on her age would be greatly appreciated. and i havnt gotten to feed he yet so i was wondering if lets say she accepted bugs and i wanted to feed her some bugs here and there, would bugs like craneflys,beetles( the common garden kind),dead bees w/ stinger removed?, moths?. any light you shed on that would be great.

  226. Togot

    On August 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Brandon, that does sound like an older female. Minnows should be fine for her, you can try feeding her spiders, though I rarely feed mine insects. A larger snake will probably prefer different prey such as worms and pinkies (baby mice) If I had to guess her age, I’d ballpark it around twenty years.

  227. Brandon

    On August 25, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Wow, much much older than any of us guessed, thanks for the info.I went an bought some litte mice hoppers and she just isnt to keen on getting to close to them. she ate a tree frog that was about the same size as both of them, they have been in there for two days and she keeps a constant eye on them, even watches them as they sleep. i was wondering if mabey seperating the two mice might help or shoud i just try some pinkies until she is use to eating them, then feed hoppers later on?

  228. Chris

    On August 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Hey chris again, i know that the hibranating time is normally in a couple of months or so, and i was wondering if it is a good idea to hibernate my snake. If so, i dont know if the process starts soon or anything, if you could get back to me that would be great, thanks!

  229. Togot

    On August 27, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Brandon, pinkies are worth a try. If the hoppers aren’t causing her any stress then you could keep them together if you like. I’ve never fed my pets hoppers, but I’ve heard they can bite, so if your feeding them live, and it sounds like you are, you might want to keep an eye on that. If your snake doesn’t eat them, you can try raising the mice as pets as well

  230. Togot

    On August 27, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Chris, garter snakes do not need to hibernate in captivity. In the wild, they do so in very large numbers in rocky caverns. They are triggered by a change in temperature, but if you keep them warm inside, they won’t notice this change, and should remain active all year.

  231. Chris

    On August 27, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Alright thank you, and as brandon said he was trying mice, do you think its a good idea for me to try pinkies to? I dont know anywhere that sells them live, just frozen ones.

  232. Sam

    On August 27, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Hi, i am planing on tryin to breed my garter snake this season, do you have any advice on this?

  233. Brandon

    On September 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Hi again, I am really enjoying carring for my snake she is beautiful. We have decided to call her Spooky, because shes so big she scares everyone lol. Some things have really been nagging at me though, Is it at all possible for garders to make distinctions between diffrent people? mabey through different body odours, or by sight or vibrations in the air. The reason i ask is simple. With my buddy eric, anytime he puts his hand on or next too the vivarium she will get really offensive almost waiting for a chance to stike, one time she did but ONLY at eric. Ok and when im near shes fine, dosent hide, strike or musk. The first time i held her she bit the side of my hand,right but let go and hasent even tryed to after that. And sh almost seems to love my dad, she is so calm with him its unbelievable she even slept on his arm while i rearanged her vivarium the other day. and with my little brother she hides EVERY time like she knows he is a little monster(Hes 16) and she musked him yesterday xD. Thanks for reading!

  234. Togot

    On September 5, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Chris, you can try feeding them to larger snakes. Frozen should be fine if you wiggle it in front of your pet to get its attention.

  235. Togot

    On September 5, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Sam, I have never tried mating garter snakes. In the wild, they form large mating balls with many males swarming over females. I’m not sure how it would work in captivity.

  236. Togot

    On September 5, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Brandon, I’ve never heard of snakes distinguishing one person from another. I know that their eyesight shouldn’t be developed enough for them to tell people apart, but I suppose it could be how the two of you move. If your friends movements are more aggressive, it might make the snake feel threatened.

  237. Chris

    On September 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Hi thank you so much togot for the help with my snake, she is doing very well and is eating pinkie mice=D. I just found a male snake by my house, and i noticed that his eyes are blueish grayish, not black like my snake. i was wondering if that means that he is blind?

  238. Togot

    On September 13, 2011 at 3:13 am

    Chris, this is usually a sign that a snake is about to shed their skin

  239. brandon

    On September 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Hey its brandon again. Im so sorry but i urgently need a reply on this on. my snake Just had about 20 babies mabey more to come. I need to know if its safe for me to release them into the wild. i want to keep 3 of the unique ones so how do icare for them? chopped worms should work for food right? and i really dont no how set up there tank. i have move them all to a seperate 10 gallon tank because i didnt know if it was safe to keep em with mommy. thanks and an awnser asap would be GREAT im meen awsomely great

  240. brandon

    On September 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    oh and i forgot if they should be released where would be good; my yard ( kinda small) , the near by creek surrounded by forest and some homes, or where i originally caught there mom up in the mountains by a river. btw all lived :D . but one had some wierd little sack hanging of its pee hole im worried that its an organ cuz of the shape of it.

  241. Togot

    On September 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Brandon, snakes are able to survive on their own as soon as they are born. Releasing them near the creek or where you found the mother should be fine. It’s possible that the one snake still has a bit of the yolk umbilical cord attached to it. Baby garters can be housed in small groups and fed red wrigglers, or the small thin worms you find out in your yard, though you should feed the snakes separately as they may fight over a meal. other than that, the requirements are basically the same, though you should make sure the keep the terrarium slightly moist. You should try to get them on pinkies when they are big enough and use mineral vitamin powder on the worms.

  242. brandon

    On September 30, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks. yeah the one i was worried about is fine now. She had 23 babies that morning :D and all of them made it. i have let 12 go so far, 6 where i found the mother and the others by the nearby creek. a few of my friends have decided to try raising a few also.I have been misting them with fresh water in the morning and late evening is that enough? and none of the babies that are still here dont seem interested in eating yet, iv offered then very small worms cut in half so they still move. Iv read they can survive off there yolk or sothing like that, so does that mean they can go a certain amount of days or week befor they are hungry or need food? and about there mom should i feed her a heavier meal this week? since she just gave birth i figure she might be feeling weak or tired. Thanks much :D

  243. Togot

    On October 1, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Brandon, that should be fine. You don’t want them to be too wet as this can cause blisters and sores. They shouldn’t need to eat anything for a little while, but you can keep trying with small worms. Yes you can fatten the mother up again.

  244. Chris

    On October 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Hi, Chris again, I have got my snake to eat pinkies like once a week, but she only eats them if i tease feed her. I heard thats how u can get them started on pinkies, but she is starting to get more hostle towards me. biting more often and started musking again. Should i stop trying to give her pinkies? they have fattened her up a bunch though. oh and reading Brandon’s thing, that’s sweet! If you could get back to me that would be great, thanks!

  245. Togot

    On October 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Chris, how are you tease feeding her? It could be that she is feeling threatened and agitated if you are too aggressive about it. I lightly tap on the glass as a kind of dinner bell, wiggle it a ways in front of her to let her know where it is, and drop it a little ways in front of her. This usually works. Also make sure you wash your hands after feeding her before you try to handle her. Your fingers might still smell like food to her. Snakes are a bit more sluggish after eating a large meal which might make her feel vulnerable as well, so keep that in mind.

  246. Chris

    On October 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Hi, i was tease feeding her by lightly tapping the mouse on her mouth until she bit it. Also, how often should i feed her a mouse? Thank you for all the help so far!

  247. Togot

    On October 11, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Chris, that would probably account for the aggression. Depending on the size of the snake, once or twice a week should be fine.

  248. Rachael

    On October 13, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    i was wondering why my snake’s tank absoultely stinks. We have recently cleaned her out and put new newspaper and water in for her, but her tank smells so much worse than before. What could I do to cover up the smell or better yet, get rid of it?

  249. snake lovor

    On October 13, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    my snake (dont know what kind it is) keeps hiding from me. it is a wild one. i have been feeding it evry day 2 -4 worms and today i got it 3 frogs (i think it is a leapored frog) am i over feeding it? i love animals so i whant whats best for it can u help me togot thx

  250. Alexandra

    On October 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm

  251. Alexandra

    On October 14, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Hi, I recently caught a young checkered garter snake while walking my dog. He is about 10 inches long. He seems pretty calm when I handel him (as long as my dog doesn’t bother us) and hes never bitten me once. My real problem is he refuses to eat.
    This is probably because I have him in a 3-5 gallon clear food container at the moment. I hate keeping him in it because its so small, but its the best i can do until my friend gives me her 10 gallon tank, which im homing is sometime this week.
    I tried to feed him cut up worms from the garden, but he doesn’t want them, so they end up shrivling and drying up.
    Im very wqorried because its been a week and a half now without eating, and I don’t want him to die.
    I would let him free, but i live in canada and nighttime tempatures now are 10 degrees, so he’d freeze before finding a snake pit.
    Please help, I don’t want him to starve :(

  252. Togot

    On October 14, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Rachael, it might be musk. Garter snakes excrete a very pungent odor when frightened. If it’s stained to the glass, you might have to use stronger leaning products to try and remove it.

  253. Togot

    On October 14, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Snake lovor, it depends on the size of the snake. You can overfeed snakes, so it is something you have to use your judgment on, but if you feel the need to ask, the answer is probably yes. Cut back a little bit. If your snake becomes over eager during feeding time, or if it start to look too thin increase its diet a little

  254. Togot

    On October 14, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Alexandra, you can try placing him in a larger, temporary container like a cardboard box or plastic bin during feeding time. This might encourage him a bit. Try feeding him an intact worm. The movement might entice him more.

  255. Chris

    On October 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Hi Chris again, my snake is still refusing to eat the mouse. I think that is might be because she is getting ready for hibernation. I am planning on hibernating her this winter, because I also have a male, and would like to try mating them. Also, do you know if it is a bad idea to store a male and a female in the same tank? I have them both in a 30 gallon tank, and the male is following her everywhere. I know they mate in the spring, but have you ever heard of them mating in the fall? Sorry about all the questions, and thanks so much for all the help! =D
    Chris

  256. Alexandra

    On October 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Hi again, we finally bought him a 10 gallon tank at the pet store, and 7 tiny feeder fish, I was very pleased to see he immediatly ate 4 of the 7.
    I did put him into a separate container when i did this, and i guess it worked cus he’s happy and healthy now,

    thanks your all the help!

  257. Brandon

    On October 16, 2011 at 12:54 am

    hey its brandon again i have a question about the young garters this time. should i put them into hibernation? there are only 4 now and they all look healthy and have eaten worms. and if they should start there brumation whats a easy way to do it and what is the time of brumation?
    Should the mom hibernate too, i dont plan on mating her so idk if she needs to. I can feed her and keep her warm trough winter.

  258. Togot

    On October 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Chris, if you feed them separately, then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If you don’t then there is a risk they will both go for the same food source and fight. Yes, they can mate in the fall. The female will store the sperm until spring.

  259. Togot

    On October 16, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Brandon, young garter snakes do have a nigh mortality rate, and brumation may increase the risk as they may not have the fat stores to last them through the winter, but if you do decide to try, they start in late fall and come out in early spring. All you’ll have to do to wake them up is gradually raise the temperature.

  260. Chris

    On October 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    ok thank you, How do you know if the female is pregnant? Thanks

  261. Chris

    On October 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    hi, one more question, how do you know if the garter snakes are ready for hibernation? please respond!

  262. Togot

    On October 20, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Chris, that can be hard to determine, but generally she will be fatter and a bit more lethargic than normal, though since most females are larger than males, this might be hard to notice. As for hibernation, they will stop eating, become inactive and not want to come out of their shelter.

  263. Chris

    On October 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Ok, thank you so much, i think that they are ready for hibernation now, because they stay under the straw all day, and rarely come up.

  264. Chris

    On October 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Hi, Togot, is it bad if my snakes are out of their shelter and going around the cage again? The temperature is still 50 degrees, what does that mean?

  265. Togot

    On November 3, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Chris, 50 degrees outside, or where you’re keeping them? We getting to the point that they should be finding hibernation caves in the wild, but if you’re keeping your pets inside where it’s warm, then they might not hibernate at all

  266. Chris

    On November 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    it is about 55 degrees in their cage, i have them in a cold hallway, where it remains about 50 all winter

  267. Brandon

    On November 28, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Hi there. its Brandon again, the snakes are doing great thanks for the help before and all info on the site.
    One of the juveniles though i have just today noticed has a reddish/orange coloring developing on its underside, starting from the area snakes are sexed from( cant remember what its called). its is kinda spotty in that area but gets more solid twards the tip of the tail, where the scales meet in the center is still normal colored.
    I find it odd considering the others dont have this. Any ideas of what this could be would be great. I wish i could provide a picture cuz it might help. umm this particular snakes is acting health and eating if thats helps. theres also nothing that color in there tank so it not a stain.

  268. HerpQueen

    On January 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Hello I have a baby northern brown snake, I have had him for at least 5 months. I feed him earthworms because it is all he will eat. I was just wondering now, do I need to provide uvb or calcium? I have 2 other snakes, constrictors, but they don’t need it because they eat rats. I don’t believe earthworms have calcium or any other nutrients. What should I do?

  269. Togot

    On January 11, 2012 at 4:23 am

    HerpQueen, you don’t need uv for snakes, but sprinkling some vitamin powder on the worms will be good for his health.

  270. Casey

    On March 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I live in a city in Indiana, and the alley across the street has a really bad garter snake problem. People are even finding them in their houses. It is only that one alley and there is no source of water, not even a pool on that side. I know that they are garter snakes because I caught one to keep. I was wondering if the snake’s diet would differ since the lack of water. I’ve never really seen mice around either, maybe they eat them all, but I know there are a lot of snails, slugs, and grub. Should I try mealworms or something?

  271. Togot

    On March 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Casey, snakes will eat what’s available to them. The alley might have an entrance to a sewer or some other underground formation that isn’t obvious. If there is a dumpster, then the snakes might be there for the mice which are eating the trash. Worms and guppies should still be fine for your pet.

  272. Trainfever

    On March 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Togot:
    Thanks in advance for any help. Yesterday my daughter caught a garter and asked if she could bring it home. I told her she could keep it for a little while but would eventually have to release it back into the wild. Anyway I dug out an old ten gallon tank and a screen top to house the snake in. The screen top is a snug fit and too heavy for the snake to lift. The openings in the screen are about 3/16 to 1/4″ at best. the snake was about 12 to 16″ in length. So off we went to the pet store and were told crickets and maybe guppies eventually. When we came home to put the crickets in the tank, the snake was gone. We left the tank outside on the front steps until we came home. Now my question is, can a snake make its head smaller? Its head was definitely bigger than the openings in the screen top, I dont think the snake could even reach the top of the tank. I always though a snake can only lift 1/3 of its body length into the air. There was a tree branch in the tank but it was still 5 inches from the top of the tank. Houdini would have made a good name for this snake.

  273. Chris

    On March 25, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Hi its Chris again, my garter snakes were very healthy untill about a week ago. they both were eating, but now, the girl is acting really weird, she is just lying down and wont move, and if you touch her, she doesnt move. she isnt dead because i see her move every once in a while. i am very worried about her, do you know what it might be? thanks

  274. Togot

    On March 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Trainfever, most snakes can only lift 1/3 of their body into the air unassisted, but in a tank, the snake had something to help support its weight by leaning against the glass. It’s also possible that with a screen net there may have been a hole somewhere, or if the snake managed to wedge itself in between the lid and the lip of the top edge, it could pry the top off.

  275. Togot

    On March 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Chris, it’s possible that she’s sick. You can try taking her to an exotic pet vet to have her looked at.

  276. Drew

    On April 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Your information on this is pretty solid, but I wanted to clarify something to people who are reading this. When catching a fleeing snake, you should not grab it by the tail. A fleeing snake can thrash its body, and if you do not have a hold of enough of the snake, it can possibly rip its tail off. So, when catching the snake you should go for aproximately the middle of the snake.

  277. Chloe

    On April 4, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Hi ive got a garter snake and it hasn’t eaten for over a month now, ive tried in on several different foods and still no luck. Can anyone help? Chloe

  278. Togot

    On April 18, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Chloe, you can try putting it in a warmer room to increase its metabolism and thus its appetite. Also, wiggling a worm or lightly tapping on the glass to get the snake’s attention might help

  279. moonpie

    On April 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    man i got a 7 in garder snake what do i feed it.

  280. Togot

    On May 11, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Moonpie, earthworms and pinkie mice if it will eat them

  281. Jaedon

    On May 13, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Hi yesterday i caught a 19inch plains garter snake this morning my brother left the cage open and he got loose. I have two cats and i wanna catch him before they do.pleasr help.

  282. Togot

    On May 17, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Jaedon, try leaving out a bowl with earthworms in it in the area you lost the snake and wait quietly. I’m afraid that’s about all I can recommend.

  283. kian

    On July 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    i nead help finding my baby garter i cot it to day my mom hates snakes and my grandma. also i lost it in my house were is the most likely place to find it i need help fast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  284. Togot

    On July 29, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Kian, likely some place warm and dark. you can try to lure it out by putting some red wriggler worms in a bowl near the areas you think the snake may be

  285. kian

    On July 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    thanx togot i found him

  286. Tristan

    On January 28, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    One time I found a 4 footer under some junk at friends place.

  287. Tristan

    On January 28, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    hey togot could you please tell me how to find a plains garter sake in spring?

  288. Tristan

    On January 28, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    hey togot can you tell me wear a garter snake would be.

  289. brian"the snake"

    On February 10, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Hey.
    I found an adult garter snake in the hills so I fought it and tried to feed it night crawles and a tad poe .she real tame an don’t mind being handled.she is good and fat so many not hungry but how long does it normally take for them to eat.she at about 60-70°.does it need to be hotter or many just give her some time

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