Northern Garter Snakes

Caution: Just so you know, this post contains photos of snakes. 😳

The red-sided garter snakes of Wood Buffalo National Park are the northern-most snakes in the world.

In April, they begin to emerge from their hibernaculum to mate and migrate across the neighbouring Salt River for the summer.

These little snakes blend incredibly well into their environment.

This area of Wood Buffalo Park is riddled with small caves that go deep underground. The snakes huddle together and sleep through the winter, maintaining a temperature well above zero.

When it’s warm enough outside, they emerge. Over the next few days of April and into May, the males will coil into “snake balls” to mate with any available female.

Can you see the red markings on his underside?

These snakes will then migrate, spend the summer eating, and travel back to the park to give birth before returning to their hibernaculum.

These harmless little guys will stand their ground and hiss at you as did the one pictured above when I got too close. I backed off and gave him his space.

Snakes have gotten a lot of bad press, but in my opinion, it’s the humans you need to watch out for, not them. You can always trust a snake to do what snakes do.

For more information, please see the link below.

https://norj.ca/2014/05/red-sided-garter-snakes-make-annual-mating-appearance/

Greetings from the migrating garter snakes of Wood Buffalo National Park. 🙂

18 thoughts on “Northern Garter Snakes”

  1. I recall playing with garter snakes in Manitoba in my childhood. I seem to recall they have a bit of a smell (stink) to them. You are right. Snakes are reliable in their actions. Allan

  2. Fascinating! I used to run through a park in Ohio where the garter snakes liked to come out into the sunlight and sun themselves. I hate snakes, but when I would run in that park and encounter those garter snakes, I would no longer be afraid of them. I’d just hop over them–and they would let me! 🙂

    1. We humans don’t care much for anything that isn’t furry or appealing to our sense of what cute should be. But these little guys are so scared of us – one of them really let me know that I should leave!

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