10/09/2008

Garter snakes - doing the dirty, baby!

When I first saw the Garter snakes curling around each other I thought they may be mating, but I dismissed it because it’s Fall, not Spring. Unlike humans most animals don’t do the dirty just for pleasure. I was watching the snakes yesterday and there was a LOT of vibrating going on. Hmm, time to check out more info on these little snakes.
Well after some cruising around, I came upon the answer:
“Males, upon emerging from hibernation, become sexually active sooner than the females, ensuring that females will be mated at the time they leave the den. To insure that there are in fact young in the spring, mating often occurs in late fall as well; the sperm is stored until the spring. If there is successful mating in the spring, the fall sperm is allowed to degenerate.”
Holy cow, you really can learn something new every day. By the way, the mating initially involved 3 parties, but the last few days the smaller and darker grater has been a casual observer, rather than a participant.
I tracked the snakes all over the garden yesterday and they were mating all day. They kept moving around to stay in the sun. Being cold blooded, I assume the passion fades when you get cold. Given their amazingly smart sperm storage policy, it isn’t hard to understand why these snakes are so common. Do you know if any other snakes do this?



10/06/2008

Snakes: Three of em

Fall has traditionally been a great time of the year for me to spot snakes in the garden. The last two Falls I’ve saved Corn Snakes from my deer netting. This year I’ve been keeping a look out for them, even though I’ve lifted the deer netting a couple of inches off the ground. On Saturday I was looking around and I found three Garter Snakes curled up next to the front stairs.


I LOVE seeing snakes in the garden and I’ve actually brought in some rocks to assist them with hibernation spots. Several of the new rocks have holes underneath them with strategically placed entrances.


What you looking at punk?

What I don’t really understand is what these guys are eating. I haven’t really seen many potential food sources (frogs, toads, lizards) other than mice – which would be WAY too big for these guys. Oh well, I’m happy to have the snakes around!

Incredible photos shared by the Flickr community group - Owls of North America. Click on the play button to begin the slideshow - ENJOY!