Garter Snakes in Spring

Photographers capture images of garter snakes emerging from hibernation.


If the emergence of garter snakes from their hibernacula isn’t one of the surest signs of spring, well, it ought to be. In Manitoba, where the Narcisse Snake Dens get no small amount of attention, mating season at the dens has even been suggested, perhaps sardonically (I don’t recall the exact reference), as a Mother’s Day tradition. Already, photographers have been out and about this spring capturing images of their first garter snakes of the season. I’ve been trolling the photo-sharing Web site Flickr in search of some springtime garter snake photos. Here is a selection.

Jen Britton took this photo of an Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis), along with many others, on March 21 at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge near Philadelphia, where the ground was warm and the snakes “were out in great numbers”:

Garter snake (Jen Britton)

On April 2, my friend Clint Gilders photographed this Eastern Garter Snake in Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park east of Peterborough, Ontario:

First of the season (Clint Gilders)

Moving to the west coast, here’s an interesting shot of a Red-spotted Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis concinnus) swimming. Andy Purviance took this photo at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge near Corvallis, Oregon.

Garter snake (Andy Purviance)

Staying out west, “mr*sha*mme*r” captured this interesting shot of a Valley Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi) at Buck Lake in Washington State. Taken on April 20, the photo shows the snake moving along the shore of a lake that wasn’t entirely free of ice.

And finally, closer to home (at least for me), Eric Bégin captured this marvellous closeup of an Eastern Garter Snake just last Friday (April 24) at the Lac Saint-François National Wildlife Area in southwestern Quebec, not very far from Cornwall, Ontario.

Garter snake (Eric Bégin)

These photos are used in accordance with their Creative Commons Licences, except for the photo by Clint Gilders, which is used with his kind permission.

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