Largest Red-sided Garter Captured

WINNIPEG — At 134 cm, it’s not the largest Common Garter Snake on record — according to Rossman et al., the record is 137.2 cm — but it may well be the largest Red-sided Garter Snake ever found, the Winnipeg Sun reports. University of Manitoba graduate student Jonathan Wiens found the specimen, a large female (of course), during research on denning sites near Jenpeg, Manitoba last month. Jenpeg is a hydro dam along the Nelson River, north of Lake Winnipeg — it’s awfully far north, and you wouldn’t normally expect record-sized individuals from so far north in a taxon’s range, but there you have it.

Update, May 19: CBC News has also picked up the story; so did the Winnipeg Free Press, but that’s not available online except via subscription. If you’re wondering why the media is making such a fuss about this, just remember that Manitobans think their garter snakes are a big deal. (Guess where I’m from.)

Update, May 22: Canadian Press is running with the story; here it is in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.