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Red-Sided Garter Snakes and Manitoba's Narcisse Snake Dens

Linda Crampton is a writer and experienced science teacher with an honors degree in biology. She enjoys writing about science and nature.

A female red-sided garter snake containing eggs; despite the name of the snake, not all individuals have red markings on their sides

A female red-sided garter snake containing eggs; despite the name of the snake, not all individuals have red markings on their sides

Red-Sided Garter Snakes in Canada

The garter snake is an interesting and often attractive reptile that is sometimes kept as a pet. The animal is non-venomous and is considered to be harmless. In winter, it hibernates in an underground den with other snakes. From early fall to spring, the area around the Narcisse Snake Dens in Manitoba contains the largest concentration of red-sided garter snakes in the world. Tens of thousands of animals spend their winter hibernating in the dens of the area. When the reptiles awaken in the spring, they form dense mating balls in which up to a hundred males are twined around a single female.

The range of the red-sided garter snake extends from eastern British Columbia all the way across Canada to the Maritime provinces, although the reptile is absent from Newfoundland. The animal is also found in the Northwest Territories as well as in the United States. It's the most abundant and widespread snake in Canada. In western British Columbia the reptile is replaced by other garter snakes, including close relatives of the often beautiful red-sided garter snake.

Narcisse Snake Dens in the Mating Season

Garter snakes often have a variable appearance. For example, the red-sided garter snake doesn't always have red sides while garter snakes without "red-sided" in their name sometimes do.

Physical Features and Habitat

The scientific name of the red-sided garter snake is Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis. It's a subspecies of the common garter snake, or Thamnophis sirtalis. Although the appearance of the animal varies, it's often dark green or black in colour with a yellow stripe along the top and sides of its body. On the side of its body between the stripes, there may be a row made of orange or red bars alternating with dark-coloured bars. This row gives the reptile its name but is sometimes absent. It's missing in many animals near Narcisse, as the video above shows.

The snake is said to be a habitat generalist. It's found in a variety of apparently dissimilar areas, including forests, fields, scrubland, rocky areas, and wetlands. It sometimes ventures into gardens. Each habitat has at least one thing in common. It contains places where a snake can hibernate safely without being harmed by snow, frost, low temperatures, and predators. These places are generally uncommon, which is one reason why garter snakes usually hibernate in groups. The area around the town of Narcisse contains some great hibernation sites for the snake.

The eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) is a close relative of the red-sided garter snake.

The eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) is a close relative of the red-sided garter snake.

The common garter snake exists as different subspecies. Information that refers to the "common garter snake" is often—but not always—true for all of the subspecies. The different subspecies of a species have relatively minor genetic differences from one another. They can interbreed and produce fertile offspring.

Senses, Diet, and Predation


The garter snake has a forked tongue that is generally red or orange in colour with a black tip. The animal frequently flicks its tongue out of its mouth in order to sense the environment. The tongue picks up molecules in the air and inserts them into the Jacobson's organ in the roof of the mouth, enabling the reptile to respond appropriately to the stimulus. Snakes have internal ears for hearing and are sensitive to touch and vibrations. Garter snakes have quite good vision.

Diet and Predation

Red-sided garter snakes are carnivores and hunt for frogs, toads, salamanders, earthworms, and leeches. They also eat bird eggs, baby birds, small mammals such as rodents, and sometimes fish.

The snake has many predators. These include foxes, raccoons, hawks, crows, larger snakes, turtles, bullfrogs, and even large fish.

Hibernation or Brumation

The bedrock around the Narcisse area is located near the surface of the Earth and consists of limestone. Water percolating into the limestone has created sinkholes and underground caverns that are a haven for snakes in winter. The reptiles are found in caverns beyond the Narcisse dens. In some cases, they hibernate near or in human communities, which has led to conflict.

Some specialists prefer to use the term brumation instead of hibernation for the winter dormancy in reptiles, since there are metabolic differences in the body of a hibernating mammal and a brumating reptile. The word "hibernation" is still widely used by the general public in reference to snakes, however. Their winter den is known as a hibernaculum.

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Exploring the Narcisse Snake Dens


Never touch or try to pick up a snake unless you are certain about its identify and are also certain that it's harmless. It's also important to think about the animal's welfare before you pick it up and while you handle it.

Human Safety

The red-sided garter snake quickly moves out of the way when it encounters humans, except under special circumstances such as those found at the Narcisse snake dens. It's best to admire the reptile from a distance instead of touching it. If a garter snake is picked up, it may release a mixture of feces and musk from an opening near the end of its body called the vent. The musk in this unpleasant mixture has a repellent smell, which lingers on human skin.

If an attacker persists in its attempts to trap the snake, the reptile may bite. A garter snake has small teeth that either don't penetrate human skin or penetrate just the outermost layer. I've never been bitten by a garter snake so I can't describe the experience personally, but people report that the bite is "a surprise rather than painful" or even "pitiful". A seven-year-old boy shows his reaction to a red-sided garter snake bite in the video below.

Garter snakes have a Duvernoy's gland instead of a venom gland. The gland's secretion and its effects are still somewhat puzzling for researchers. The secretion from the glands may be toxic. Some people experience skin irritation from contact with the snake's saliva. This doesn't seem to be a common occurrence, however.

A Boy Gets Bitten by a Garter Snake

Although the snakes at the Narcisse Snake Dens may bite, this appears to be a very rare event. The Snake Dens representative in the video below says that the snakes don't bite and that even if they do they can't pierce the skin. The bite shown above was Nathan's first, even though he had visited the dens and handled the snakes several times before.

The Narcisse Snake Dens

Narcisse is a small town in the province of Manitoba. It's located next to Highway 17 about 103 km north of Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba. The snake dens are in turn located about 6 kilometres north of Narcisse. Signposts guide visitors to the dens, which are a major tourist attraction.

A 3 km walking trail enables visitors to view four dens as well as the surrounding landscape. The gravel trail is made of crushed and packed limestone and is flat. I have seen reports saying that the current state of the trail is suitable for wheelchairs as well as pedestrians, but this is something that should be checked before a visit. Benches along the trail allow people to rest.

The route may look like a normal nature trail at first. At certain times of the year, however, visitors will notice snakes beside the trail and often on the trail as well. The walking path travels by each of the four dens but not right up to them so that the snakes aren't disturbed during a critical moment in their lives. There is an observation area beside each den to enable people to watch the reptiles and to take photos. The dens are below the level of the observation platform and are sometimes referred to as snake pits.

The Narcisse Snake Dens sign in September

The Narcisse Snake Dens sign in September

Reproduction of the Reptiles

At the end of hibernation, the males emerge from the dens first and wait for the females. As soon as a female appears, males surround and cover her in an attempt to mate. The female releases a chemical known as a pheromone that attracts the males. The writhing collection of snakes that results is known as a mating ball.

The mating ball moves along the ground and even rolls down inclines as the female struggles to move and the males struggle to mate with her. In a large mating ball, a rustling of scales can be heard as the snakes's bodies move over each other. The female is usually bigger than the males, but she's often hidden by her companions.

After mating has finished, the female leaves the area to feed. She may give birth within two to three months, but sometimes the sperm is stored for longer before being used. Garter snakes are ovoviviparous. The eggs hatch within the female's body and the young are born live. The number of youngsters ranges from only a few to as many as eighty. The female leaves them to fend for themselves soon after they're born. Like the females, the males disperse after mating has finished. Both genders lead a solitary life until it's time to hibernate again.

The young snakes are reproductively mature at between two and three years of age, if they live that long. In the wild, garter snakes often have a short lifespan. The average lifespan in the wild seems to be around two years while in captivity it's generally between six and ten years.

Handling a Garter Snake Without Hurting it

We encourage you to only handle a snake in the presence of the site interpretive staff. They can show you how to handle a snake properly so that these fragile creatures are less likely to be harmed.

— Government of Manitoba website

Visiting the Snake Dens or Pits

The snakes at the Narcisse Snake Dens can be seen in September before they begin hibernation. The best time to see them is on a sunny day in late April and early May when they emerge from their dens and mate, however. Not only are they most numerous and active at this time of year, but in addition they are generally preoccupied with reproduction and aren't bothered by the presence of humans. A warmer day means the snakes will be more active. Unlike humans, the reptiles can't regulate their body temperature by internal processes.

I find the idea strange for a wildlife management area, but visitors are allowed to pick up snakes that they discover along the trail near the dens (although not in the buffer area immediately beside the dens, where people are prohibited). Picking the animals up would certainly add interest to the visit, especially for children. I hope the snakes are treated well by visitors, though. Interpreters are on the trails when the snakes are active in the spring and visitors are encouraged to treat the animals gently, as shown in the video above.

Visitors should be aware that the area around the snake dens has limited facilities for humans. There are primitive washrooms on the site but no food is available. Visitors should bring their own snacks and beverages. A pair of binoculars and a camera would also be useful during the walk. The snakes at the dens can be seen with the unaided eye, but binoculars would give a better view of the action.

Anyone who is planning a trip to the Narcisse Snake Dens should check the Government of Manitoba website referenced below. The dens were recently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I expect that the website will announce when they are open again.

Identifying garter snakes by colour and pattern is often unreliable since the reptiles vary in appearance. This is another representative of Thamnophis sirtalis.

Identifying garter snakes by colour and pattern is often unreliable since the reptiles vary in appearance. This is another representative of Thamnophis sirtalis.

Red-Sided Garter Snakes as Pets

Red-sided garter snakes have a reputation as a harmless animal, which is mostly deserved. They are also active and frequently inquisitive reptiles that are interesting to watch. For this reason they are sometimes kept as pets.

I urge people who want to keep a red-sided garter snake as a pet to find a breeder and buy a captive-bred animal. Collecting wild snakes is illegal in some places or is illegal without a permit. In addition, I think it's unfair to bring a wild animal into captivity, even when that animal is a snake.

People who keep red-sided garter snakes as pets report that many of them don't release musk or bite when they become used to being gently handled by people. This isn't always true, however. Some snakes never like to be handled.

Like this eastern garter snake, the other subspecies of the common garter snake can swim.

Like this eastern garter snake, the other subspecies of the common garter snake can swim.

Some Points to Consider: A Checklist

A prospective garter snake owner needs to do a lot of research. Buying a reptile as a pet should never be an impulsive decision. Some important points to consider before bringing a snake home include the following:

  • size of the terrarium
  • temperature in the habitat
  • food types and sources
  • feeding frequency
  • bedding type
  • other necessary items for the terrarium (such as a water bowl and places for the snake to hide and climb)
  • a cleaning routine for the habitat
  • special care during skin shedding
  • recognizing upcoming brumation
  • special care around brumation time (if brumation takes place)
  • why, when, and how to encourage brumation if it doesn't occur naturally
  • diseases to watch for and steps to take if they appear
  • dealing with bites (Since a snake's teeth point backwards, the head of an attached snake should be gently moved forwards to remove the teeth from the skin.)

A prospective snake owner should also investigate the reputation of a breeder and the location of the nearest vet who has experience in treating reptiles. It's good to get recommendations for both of these people if possible. It's also a good idea to check the accuracy and relevancy of any information that's discovered. When I did an online search for reptile veterinarians in my area, the address and phone number of my previous vet was listed. Unfortunately, the vet has retired and the building that he used is no longer a veterinary clinic.

Some representatives of the red-spotted garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis coccinus) have a beautiful orange head.

Some representatives of the red-spotted garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis coccinus) have a beautiful orange head.

Food for Pet Red-Sided Garter Snakes

Finding suitable food for garter snakes is a special consideration. It's important that all food given to a captive snake is safe and that there is a reliable source of the food. The food must be both nutritious and free of dangerous toxins or parasites.


Pet owners say that their red-sided garter snakes stay healthy on a diet consisting mainly of small frozen and thawed mice, which many pet stores sell. This means that people who have a garter snake in their home don't have to watch mice bring killed by the animal. Although snakes can swallow quite large items, pinkies (very young mice that have not yet grown hair) may be needed for some garter snakes. Very small snakes will likely need pieces of pinkies.

Of course, feeding a snake frozen mice still means that the mice have been killed, although this was probably done humanely. Another advantage of feeding snakes dead prey is that it prevents them from being injured by an animal that is trying to escape. There's no way around the necessity of feeding animals to snakes. Since snakes are carnivores and hunters, they have to be fed other animals if they're kept as pets.

Earthworms or Night Crawlers

People also feed their garter snakes earthworms or night crawlers (Lumbricus terrestris). Many sources state that red wigglers are toxic to garter snakes, so the correct identification of a worm is crucial. Red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) are worms that are often used in vermiculture.


Fresh or frozen and defrosted fish may be given to garter snakes, although it's best if these are used as a treat. Unlike mice, fish aren't nutritionally complete for the snakes. They can also make the animal's feces very smelly. Pet owners must check that their fish of choice doesn't contain an enzyme called thiaminase. Thiaminase breaks down thiamine, or vitamin B1. A vitamin B1 deficiency in a garter snake can be deadly.

The San Francisco garter snake is a subspecies of the common garter snake and is endangered.

The San Francisco garter snake is a subspecies of the common garter snake and is endangered.

While the subspecies of a species have minor differences from each other, these differences may be interesting. The extinction of a subspecies and the loss of its unique genes is a sad event.

Status of the Wild Garter Snake Population

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies animals according to their nearness to extinction. Thamnophis sirtalis is classified in their "least concern" category. Although the red-sided garter snake has many predators, it's also capable of producing many offspring, which keeps its population size fairly constant. Unfortunately, a subspecies of the common garter snake—the San Francisco garter snake, or Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia—is considered to be endangered.

The presence of garter snakes in human communities may create problems. A crowd of snakes arriving for hibernation and their antics in the spring are sometimes unwelcome, especially when the animals enter buildings. In this situation, they may be treated as a pest.

Sometimes snakes and humans can coexist peacefully. In 2015, a hibernaculum containing over 400 garter snakes was discovered by workers on a dyke near my home. As is often true for hibernacula, the snakes belonged to different species and subspecies. The mixture included the common garter snake. The reptiles were collected by a wildlife organization and kept safe. They were released in the same location where they were found once the weather was warmer and construction had finished. It would be nice if conflicts between humans and garter snakes could always be resolved so equitably. The reptiles are interesting animals to observe and study.


  • Thamnophis sirtalis information from E-Fauna BC, University of British Columbia
  • "Red-sided gartersnake" from Ontario Nature (Usually the words "garter" and "snake" in the reptile's name are separate, but occasionally they are joined together.)
  • Information about the Narcisse Snake Dens from the Government of Manitoba
  • Garter snakes as pets from Utah Veterinary Clinics
  • Rescued garter snakes from a disturbed hibernaculum from the Vancouver Sun

© 2016 Linda Crampton


Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 06, 2016:

Thank you very much for the comment and shares, Flourish. I probably wouldn't like snakes as much as I do if I'd met the ones that you have!

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 06, 2016:

What a great hub! Admittedly, snakes give me the willies, but I'd never hurt them. Having grown up in the deep South, I had my share of run ins with venomous varieties of snakes (rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths), and I try to keep my distance from all types (no offense). The Manitoba Dens nevertheless have a certain fascinating appeal in the same way that people visit haunted houses, I guess. I would love to venture there with my teen. She is braver than I. Sharing and G+ing.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 17, 2016:

Fantasia night sounds very interesting, Nell! I wouldn't mind having snakes put around my neck, as long as they weren't venomous or otherwise dangerous. I went to Morocco on a day trip from Spain. I think I should have stayed longer to meet the snakes!

Nell Rose from England on March 17, 2016:

Great article on snakes, I actually don't mind them at all, unless of course they are venomous, I remember going to Morocco a few years ago, and going to something called the fantasia night, where we had snakes put around our necks! lol! no call for the cowards that night! but yes I think they are beautiful, and the red sided one is so pretty, nell

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 15, 2016:

Anytime Alicia, I'm returning the favor, since you've did one of mine today.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 15, 2016:

Hi, Kristen. Thanks for the comment. Snake dens are an interesting phenomenon, especially the ones in Narcisse!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 15, 2016:

Thanks for sharing your experience, Nadine. A meter long puff adder sounds like a very interesting discovery! I appreciate your visit.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 15, 2016:

Alicia, this was an interesting hub about these kinds of snakes. It's very useful and resourceful to know about those snake dens in Manitoba. I've heard of the garden variety garter snakes and not of the narcisse kind. Thanks for sharing.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on March 15, 2016:

Wow what an informative article about snakes. Love the pictures. last week on our walk we came across a puff adder. It was at least a meter long. We took pictured with our cell phone. Puff adder is the common name for the Bitis Arietans, and it is one of the most common and widely spread snakes in Africa.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 11, 2016:

Hi, truthfornow. Yes, there's a lot to think about when caring for a garter snake as a pet. They're said to be one of the easiest snakes to take care of, though. Thanks for the visit.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on March 11, 2016:

That was really interesting about feeding fish to garter snakes. I had no idea that you had to be so careful.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 09, 2016:

Thanks for the comment, Richard-Bivins. I appreciate your visit. It's interesting to hear about people who handled garter snakes as children. I didn't live in North America as a child so I never had that experience. I think I would have enjoyed it!

Richard Bivins from Charleston, SC on March 09, 2016:

This is a great and detailed article on garter snakes. I'm not much of a snake person but I appreciated all the research that went into this hub. I remember hunting garter snake as a kid and now I wonder if the ones I used to catch secreted anything on I guess it's too late to worry about that now.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 08, 2016:

Thank you very much for the kind comment, Mel. It would be very interesting to have a garden full of garter snakes! I can't remember ever seeing one in my garden.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on March 08, 2016:

Beautiful, informative article. My Mother's garden in Colorado is chock full of garter snakes. She has a farm girl's aversion to all snakes, but I realize they are harmless, even helpful, and leave them alone to go about their business. Unfortunately, here in San Diego I have never seen a garter snake, although I know there must be some. Thanks for this fantastic information!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 06, 2016:

Thank you, Genna. I appreciate your visit and comment very much.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on March 06, 2016:

Linda, you have written in striking detail (no pun intended) of a subject that always gives me the jitters -- snakes. But I feel as though I have better understanding of them, thanks to this well-researched and written article. Thank you.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 04, 2016:

That's an interesting thought, Audrey! Thank you for the comment.

Audrey Howitt from California on March 04, 2016:

I am a person who has a difficult time with snakes. Nonetheless, I found this to be fascinating---Maybe they are more afraid of me than I am of them!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 03, 2016:

It sounds like you had a great experience, Deb. Snakes and their dens are always interesting to observe! Thank you very much for the comment.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on March 03, 2016:

Such wonderful material. I learned a great deal here. While in TX last year, I believe we found a snake den, as about ten youngsters came out of it. They were all very curious, and I found it most interesting.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 01, 2016:

Thank you once again for sharing the article, Peggy. I appreciate your support a great deal. There are no venomous snakes near my home, so I don't mind discovering a snake and actually enjoy seeing the animal. I've never found one in my garden, though!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 01, 2016:

I found this article to be very interesting and watched each of the videos as well. My reaction to seeing a snake in our yard or garden is one of avoidance and if surprised...a little shriek emanates from my mouth. Just cannot help it! I know they are very beneficial to the environment but if I see any, I use moth balls to make them want to reside elsewhere. Seems to work! Sharing this good article.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 28, 2016:

Hi, Bill. Yes, I think that garter snakes should be left in the wild, too. They are interesting animals to observe, but I don't think that they should be collected. I appreciate your comment.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on February 28, 2016:

Hi Linda. Very interesting hub. As a kid growing up we saw garter snakes frequently but not so much now. Occasionally I will come across one in our yard that abuts a small wooded area. While I understand people want them as pets I think they are better left to their natural habitat. Great selection of videos and very educational hub as always.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 27, 2016:

Hi, Buildreps. I hadn't thought of that before, but you're right. The garter snakes with the brighter colours and patterns do look somewhat like their dangerous relatives. Thank you very much for the visit and the interesting comment.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 27, 2016:

Thanks for the comment, Manatita. Yes, the children don't seem to be frightened of the snakes at all. It's good that they are interacting with nature, although I don't know how the snakes feel about it!

Buildreps from Europe on February 27, 2016:

Wonderful article on this animal, Linda. I had never heard of this snake before. I hope I can remember its name. :) I'm not very fond on snakes to be honest, although I've never been bitten by one. So, why I'm scared for them is actually a mystery to me. When you quickly view on the typical marking of the Red-sided Garter snake it might appear venomous to me, because it has something of a poisonous frog or the universal yellow-black of animals as a sign "I am dangerous". I liked your statement "I think it's unfair to bring a wild animal into captivity, even when that animal is a snake." It's very true.

manatita44 from london on February 27, 2016:

A lot here, Alicia, and a very well-written Hub on snakes. A bit scary the video. Interesting that the kids look less frightened. A very educational Hub.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2016:

Hi, Faith. I remember how you feel about snakes from your comment on another snake hub of mine! Thank you so much for reading this article even though snakes frighten you. I appreciate your effort a great deal. I agree with you - the mating ritual of garter snakes is certainly impressive!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on February 26, 2016:

Interesting article here, Linda, but I am so terrified of all snakes, even the harmless ones, that I had to skim through the photos here. I was able to read the text and found it fascinating. I could never see myself visiting those dens though.

Wow, that is some mating ritual!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2016:

Hi, Bill. Thanks for the visit. I've experienced the same as you. In the past I would often see garter snakes near my home. Now that there are more homes and stores in my neighbourhood, I see the snakes much less often. I have to go to a rural area or on a hike to get a good chance of seeing a snake.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 26, 2016:

When we were kids we caught garter snakes all the time and played with them. Now I rarely see any. I wonder if their numbers are dwindling or if I'm just not aware? Cool place, that Narcisse Snake Dens...thanks for the tour. Very interesting!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2016:

Thanks for the comment and for sharing your feelings, MsDora! I appreciate the fact that you read the hub even when you hate snakes.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 26, 2016:

"Prospective snake owner?" Not me. I hate snakes but I don't mind learning about them and this is a good lesson on the Red Sided Garter Snakes and the Narcisse Snakes and their habits. Thank you.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2016:

Hi, ValKaras. Thanks for the comment. It is interesting that people have such different tastes in life!

ValKaras on February 26, 2016:

Hi Alicia, I never liked anything that crawls, including crocodiles, and turtles. Sometimes, half-jokingly I say how I would rather face a lion than a croc or an anaconda. I am amazed how different our tastes are, learning about people actually keeping pythons as pets.

However, I find your hub quite interesting and educational.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2016:

Hi, Martie. Thank you very much for the visit. I know that some people fear or dislike snakes, but I actually like them! I would certainly want to stay well clear of a venomous snake, but I love to observe the non-venomous ones like garter snakes.

It's interesting to thnk about which snakes wins the mating contest! I suppose the male who reaches the female first despite the crowd should be called the victor. There is enough food for the snakes once they disperse. They don't stay around the dens once mating has finished.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on February 26, 2016:

Alicia, this is a very-very interesting article about the Red-Sided Garter Snakes and the Narcisse Snake Dens of Manitoba, but I can't see myself visiting those dens, not to talk about holding a snake. My fear of snakes is thoroughly embedded in my genes. Once upon a time I must have been eaten by a snake.

I wonder how does a female decide which male will have the privilege to mate with her? Is there enough food for all those snakes?

Thanks, too, for adding those amazing videos :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2016:

Hi, Devika. I appreciate your comment. Like you, I think that some snakes have beautiful colours. Thank you very much for the tweet!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2016:

Thank you very much for the kind comment, ChitrangadaSharan! I appreciate your visit. I'm lucky because I do see snakes where I live, although not as many as in the past now that my neighbourhood is more developed. I think that snakes are very interesting animals.

DDE on February 26, 2016:

Beautiful colors on this snake but, not my favorite pet. You definitely enlightened me about this type of snake. Informative and a learning lesson from you as always. I Tweeted!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 26, 2016:

This is a very well researched, informative and fascinating article on Red sided Garter snakes and Narcisse snakes. Your pictures are incredible and I just loved the video.

I have not seen many snakes except in the snake museums. I always find snakes to be mysterious and thrilling since we do not see them regularly.

Enjoyed going through your excellent hub! Thanks for sharing!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 25, 2016:

Thank you for the comment and for sharing the lovely story about the baby garter snakes, Jackie. I appreciate the fact that you shared the hub, too!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 25, 2016:

Very interesting snake article, Linda. Generally, I just do not like snakes but as a teen we lived where there were garter snakes and the babies would be pretty abundant sometimes on our patio in summer and having no fear of them I enjoyed playing with them. Sometimes the babies didn't like to be bothered and would try to bite which at that time seemed kind of cute. Don't know if I would enjoy them so much today. lol


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