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Garter Snake, Right?

Discussion in 'Snakes - General' started by pandorasbox, May 11, 2015.

  1. pandorasbox

    pandorasbox Elite Member

    Hey guys!! It's been like forever since I have posted. I still have my crested gecko and leopard gecko (I sold the rest)... but that's not why I am posting today.

    alRwnx0.jpg

    (Located in NW Indiana)... This is a garter snake right?? I manage an apartment community and one of my residents emailed me about this "disgusting" "really big" snake that is living outside their apartment. I don't know much about snakes... but I'm obviously thinking "yay!! a few less rodent complaints." because we are located in kind of a nature-y area with adjacent forest, fields, pond/ditch etc. Seriously someone is freaking out about this little guy???

    So I am asking for a little help dissecting each little bit of this email. I did some googling and I am pretty sure this is a garter snake but not 100%.

    "some animal people she talked to said she is most likely guarding her eggs in the area under her bay window" "if she is protecting her eggs she may not be so harmless"

    If it's a garter snake they give live birth and then have no attachment to their young, correct?

    If I were to move the snake, would it likely come back to it's home under this particular resident's window?

    If I picked it up would it musk on me or something? Would it bite me? I've never picked up a wild snake before but I kind of want to so my resident sees how silly she's being. Well-educated people being freaked out by this little guy... seriously! I don't get it.

    I'm also telling her that all snakes are protected by state law. Which is true, unless you have a hunting or fishing license, or own or lease the land, and they are not endangered. But they aren't leasing the land, they are leasing the apartment.

    Thanks for any help...
     
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    No clue on your local laws, but that is indeed a garter. It may musk and attempt to bite, you would too if something 150× your size grabbed you, but it's nonvenomous and basically harmless. It's most likely hanging around because there is prey in the area. It will eventually move away on it's own. You might remind them that this is one of the possible consequences of living in a more rural setting, and ask if they'd rather have an excess of rodents running around spreading parasites and disease. As for relocating it, it won't come back if you move it far enough, but another may just decide to take it's place if there is a reason for it to be there.
     
    mshrmheadcharge likes this.
  3. ExoJoe

    ExoJoe Established Member

    Well from the picture it definitely looks like a garter. They probably won't help you much with your rodents though. They prefer worms and small fish. They are ovoviviparous so they do give birth to live young and don't protect them. That shouldn't be until late summer early fall. Right about now they are eating and looking to breed. There is a good chance that grabbing it with your hands could get you a little nip being that it is wild. Which is not a big deal. If your tenant saw that though she would more than likely be startled even more and snakes get a bad portrayal as it is. Interesting fun fact though: garter snakes do have a Very mild venom in their rear fangs. The delivery system is very poor though. It is something interesting to read into though. But on the whole completely harmless.
     
  4. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Good point about their diet, was not thinking about that when I posted, but I think they will take some rodent prey. Regardless, a little white lie to o the tenant about the diet of garters would likely be in the snakes best interest anyway.
     
  5. ExoJoe

    ExoJoe Established Member

    Agreed.
     
  6. pandorasbox

    pandorasbox Elite Member

    Thanks guys. I replied a few hours ago and she has replied... still scared of it but somewhat understanding that it is nature etc. I watched some videos showing some kids catching and releasing garter snakes... I think I might be brave enough to do it. Or maybe I'll get a snake hook. Even if I did get nipped I should handle it okay. My leopard gecko bit me hard and drew blood a while back and I stayed calm.
     
  7. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Garter snakes bite in rapid (weak) strikes, nothing to fear but the startling speed of it :p I'd fear the other end... that tail flapping around and spraying musk is unpleasant....
     
    Darkbird likes this.
  8. pandorasbox

    pandorasbox Elite Member

    How do these kids on youtube make it look so easy? I watched several of the videos by this channel: and the older videos they sound like they are about 12... you never see them actually picking up the snake, they clip the videos, but wow.
     
  9. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Usually filmed near a den, these snakes have breeding on the brain and not much other than that will sink in :p
     
    Darkbird and Merlin like this.
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Agreed. That many garters in a small area are indicative of a breeding group coming together.
     
  11. pandorasbox

    pandorasbox Elite Member

    I'm pretty sure several of my residents will poop their pants if that happens here.
     
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

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