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albino garter snake

Discussion in 'Field Herping' started by lola, Jun 15, 2005.

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  1. lola

    lola Elite Member

    i found a juvi albino garter snake outside today in the cool misty weather. i have never seen one before.

    i live in southern maine. can anyone tell me how rare it is to find an albino?

    also, should i keep it? will it be more risky for the little fella to roam free because of his lack of camouflage pigmentation? i am usually one who catches and releases but...

    ...or do you think that there is someplace i should try to sell it? do garters make good pets?


  2. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    I'd love to see pics of that snake, Lola. I caught an adult (about 3ft long) Western Garter Snake in California when I was 11 and kept it for 10 years then I gave it to my nephew who kept it for several years after that.
    It musked me a few times and bit me when I caught it, but after that, it settled in fine and I thought it made a great pet. From what I read about it at the time, I fed it F/T smelt fish once a week. The snake didn't seem to have any problem converting from whatever it had eaten before to F/T fish and lived a long and healthy life with us.
    I can't advise you on whether you should keep it or not. I believe that in some places it's not legal to keep w/c animals: even harmless reptiles, my problem would be that the longer I kept it, the harder it would be to let go.

    Good luck whatever you decide. Take some pics of it if you can.
  3. KrokadilyanGuy3

    KrokadilyanGuy3 Elite Member

    Lucky find :mad:

    From what I understand from most State/Federal/ local laws, albinos and a few other morphs are exempt from any laws pertaining wild caught animals. Finding albinos is a tad rare but apparently it happens. Albino prices also vary, however if you wish to keep it, Garters makes for a spiffy addition to any herp collection and are easy to keep. I happen to love Thamnophis -hint hint- ;)

    Whatever you do, releasing the animal will most likely end in death due to the abnormality.
  4. deltro_star

    deltro_star Elite Member

    I really agree Lola, Its totally your desicion but an albino garter will probably end up dead due to the lack of camoflauge. A good question to ask yourself is how come you never see adult albinos in the wild or on the dicovery channel? Personally I would keep it its a very rare find and youd do helping more than hurting.
  5. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    Lola,,,,state laws vary from State to State,,,but most will nor permit capture for some reason or another. I am a firm believer in leaving wild animals wild. BUT,,,,as the others have pointed out,,,,a baby or juvies only real protection in the wild is camouflage,,,which an albino definitely does not posess. Myself being in that situation,,,I might break the law and save the little guy.
  6. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    If you're up to keeping it, I say go for it. That's an extremely rare find, and the snake is pretty much doomed if you let it go. It might as well be holding a neon sign that says "Eat Me!". Garters aren't like a corn snake though. They typically do not tolerate handling too well. They're pretty easy to care for habitat wise. The diet is a little trickier. Although wild garters will eat worms, amphibs, and fish, its too hard to supply a diet high in amphibs in captivity, and a diet too high in worms means you're missing nutrients. A diet too high in fish will result in a fatal thiamine deficiency. The safest way to keep garters is to use scenting to teach them to accept mice as prey, by using fish or frogs to scent F/T pinkies and fuzzies, until the snake accepts them without the scenting. Once that's accomplished, they're a piece of cake.
  7. esbat

    esbat Reptile Rescue Premium Member

    Lola, I'm so jealous, I would love to find an albino. Odds are if your state doesn't allow you keep wild snakes, you definately wouldn't be allowed to sell it. Since it's a freak of nature, survival is unlikely in the wild, you should definately keep it :)
  8. steveig2

    steveig2 Elite Member

    well lets face it how many cops are gonna be breaking down your door over a simple garter snake, like everyone else said youd be doing it a favor, a chance on life if you will.
  9. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    Well, I'm with Ken on this one,. i think wild animals should remain wild wherever possible, and also I really don't agree with catching random animals and then putting them back into the wild - doesn't this break a few laws or something?

    An albino is a rare find, and i'm sure it is very beautiful, it would be wonderful to see it if you have any pics. I am a little disappointed at your suggestion to sell it however,. a wild creature shouldn't represent your need or want for money, and to make a profit from taking something from its home is completely immoral IMO. Just my opinion.
  10. lola

    lola Elite Member

    i appreciate all of your opinions on this matter.

    i am strongly considering keeping it. it is quite a unique little fellow, and i would like to give it a chance at life.

    as far as selling it, i hope i didn't offend anybody. i would consider donating it to somewhere that would appreciate the little fella...the new england herp society? i don't know...i would be afraid of asking...

    as for catching and releasing, you are right, i am sure there are laws surrounding that...but all of my life through growing up and what not, i have been intrigued by wild herps, not to mention surrounded by them. mostly i would catch one (snake, toad, frog, salamander,turtle,) show my mom or whoever, and them promptly place it back where i found it (or i'd often release toads in the garden, since they are great for gardens...) once i even captured some tiny tadpoles in the late fall and released them as frogs in the spring, mostly for the learning experience of watching them morph. it was quite incredible and i would recommend it to many responsible children. anyway, i'll bet that there are few of us here who has never flipped over a rock and picked up the snake underneath or stealthily stalked frogs on the edge of the pond.

    anyhow, i will try to get some pics of the little guy today...

    thanks again,

  11. iturnrocks

    iturnrocks Elite Member

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