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Clever Fella?

Discussion in 'Garter & Water snakes' started by Gem and Jon, Apr 14, 2008.

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  1. Gem and Jon

    Gem and Jon Member

    We've just inherited an 18 month old red sided garter snake and my partner decided it would be a good idea to put a little aquarium in his terrarium. it's only got a redcrab some snails and a few tadpoles in but it did have a molly. Now i know garters do eat fish but i would of put money on this one being too big for him but it's gone missing and cant find it anywhere. Will it cause him any problems if it was too big? or any other problems related to him eating out of the aquarium?
     
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    You would be surprised what a snake can swallow! And if its too big it won't swallow it.
    And I would remove the crab and the snails, you don't want the snake swallowing those!
     
  3. Gem and Jon

    Gem and Jon Member

    Will he tend to keep away from things that are bigger than himself or do you think he might have a go at them?
     
  4. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I actually just responded to your into thread and stated the garter ate the molly. lol The liklihood of the garter not going after a fish he thinks he can eat is pretty slim. You would be better off just purchasing some feeder fish and tossing them in the tank. That way you have a cheap fish source, the aquarium appearance remains active, but you aren't disappointed when the garter eats them. ;)
     
  5. Gem and Jon

    Gem and Jon Member

    Well thankfully i wasn't too attached to the molly, neither was my little girl, she hadn't even had a chance to name it :) But my partner is very attached to his red crab, so far fella (the garter snake) has kept away from the crab but do you think he's likely to have a go?
     
  6. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    I think he might have a go and I would suggest for the safety of the snake and the crab, you find the crab a new tank.
     
  7. Gem and Jon

    Gem and Jon Member

    Garter Snakes + Water

    We have an aquarium inside our terrarium but have read that some of the fish we'd like to keep like slightly salted/brackish water, will this be ok for Fella (the garter snake) or will we need to put in a separate water source for him to drink from?
     
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Re: Garter Snakes + Water

    You need a seperate water source. And the aquarium is unnecessary. Just putting the feeder fish in a bowl will do fine.
    They aren't going to last that long anyway if the snake can get to them!
     
  9. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Re: Garter Snakes + Water

    Too many threads. Can we merge a few together? I"m having a hard time following.
     
  10. Gem and Jon

    Gem and Jon Member

    Re: Garter Snakes + Water

    Sorry about being all over the place, getting over excited about the fantastic amount of information :) this site is brilliant.
    I have a question about mouse pinkies. alot of people have said that my garter will eat them but some people say to scent them with frogs or fish, does this mean that normaly they wouldn't eat them? and what sort of nutritional value are they?
     
  11. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Re: Garter Snakes + Water

    A mouse pink is the best all around complete source of food you can give the snake. I would try it and see if you luck out and it takes it without worrying about scenting. Other wise just wash the pinkie off and then rub it with the fish to scent it.
     
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    And wild garters will take small mammals.
    For simplicity's sake I have merged the two threads.
     
  13. fire2225ems

    fire2225ems Subscribed User Premium Member

    I would just add a note to say that you will most likely want to go with frozen thawed food or even freshly killed. But Live feeders in the form of mice/rats can be dangerous to your snake.
     
  14. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Oo, it's been a while since we had a long garter snake thread :D

    Ok, first off, mollies are perfectly fine for your garter snake to eat. In fact, they're one of the best fish you could feed him, and are much healthier for him to eat than goldfish or "rosey reds" (minnows). Livebearers tend not to contain as many oils, so mollies, guppies, swordtails, etc are all good as far as fish go.

    Also, mollies and crabs are actually brackish water inhabitants, contrary to how most pet stores house them. I wouldn't keep a brackish aquarium within the garter snake's habitat though. It will require more maintenance than a freshwater aquarium, and it will really be more inconvenient for you and very stressful to your garter snake to have it in there. Also the water won't be the best for the snake, and he shouldn't drink it. Plus he will still try to eat any fish you put in there, whether they're good for him or not (or too big). The crab could harm the snake, and they require land as well as water anyway, so you're looking at a complex and ultimately impractical habitat.

    Some garter snakes will feed on mammals in the wild, but most (or many) will not. Garter snakes primarily specialize in eating worms, amphibians, and fish, with some garters accepting mammals and reptiles in certain geographic locations. Garter snakes in the eastern and southern US are especially known for this, while northern and western garters are not.

    I would feed your garter snake pinkies or fuzzies as the staple in the diet. A diet too high in fish (especially oily fish, like goldfish and minnows) will also be too high in the enzyme Thiaminase, which is found in fish oil. It breaks down Thiamine (vitamin B1) in the snake's nervous system and will eventually cause seizures, paralysis, and death if the diet is not supplemented with enough B1, though this may take years. You can and should supplement the snake's diet with occasional fish and worms though. They'll happily accept them.

    As Merlin suggested, try the mice by themselves first. If your garter doesn't eat them then you will have to scent them in the manor you mentioned. Rubbing the mouse on a fish, worm, or non-toxic amphibian will do the job. Eventually the snake gets used to mice and you can stop scenting them. As Shell mentioned, you can get frozen mice in bulk, which can potentially save you money. But I should also point out that live pinkies and fuzzies pose no threat to your snake. It's hoppers and especially adults that can inflict damage, but these are too large for garter snakes. For only one snake, you may even consider breeding your own feeder mice, though you certainly don't have to.
     
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