Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Many Garter Snakes (don't look if you think snakes are gross)

These live in the little overgrown stone wall next to my driveway. Last year I regularly saw a few, but this year I saw an awful lot more, probably because I was checking much more often. I caught them during a mass mating frenzy (short movie I got, here), and then I just started seeing them all over the place.

Typical morning (many snakes between the stones)
Seven snakes. I think the big one is a female
An inch in front of my dumb cat's face. Pretty pugnacious little snake!

So then I had to go find out about Garter Snakes. I wondered why the heck they were breeding in early fall, with 2-3 months' gestation, meaning the babies would be born in December?  Most of the text I read said they breed in spring. But then I found something that said they sometimes breed in the fall. Then I found something that said the females can store the sperm for later, as long as years. Then I read that some males will produce female pheromones in the spring as they emerge from their winter dens, and fake out other males, who will try to mate with him, which simultaneously transfers their body heat to the faker-snake and keeps them distracted from the actual female, while he sidles on over to the real female and has his way with her.

It just goes on and on, you see a thing, you ask one innocent question, and off you go...


  1. Cool picts!! My favorite mushroom was Marasmius capillaris the little mushrooms where so cute! I had never seen so many garter snakes before! Once again where are you? Anyways i once had a pet garder snake i kept in a 50 gallon tank with moss and dirt and grass and water, crickets, ect. well i had it about a month and then let it go cause my dad told me it was lonely haha.

    1. You mean the mushroom that's on another post?

      Once again, I'm still in Missouri--just about every blog has an "About Me" link about the writer and the content--it's over there on the left.

      Your dad was probably right.