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Old 07-05-18, 11:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile California Red Sided Garter snake. Need help from experianced owners!

3 years ago in early May my good friend purchased a "male California red-sided garter snake." Fast forward to that August and the "male" had babies. After we worked diligently to get them eating and what not I brought one home as a pet to relieve some of the burden of caring for 7 small baby snakes while teaching her class. Important to note that she is an agriculture teacher who teaches several classes over small animal/reptile management. In the end she rehomed 5 of them to happy snake loving homes. I kept one and she kept one out of the babies. Now, mom is huge and has always been huge since she was overnighted by FedEx. She is every bit of adult size at a hair over 2 foot long. However, the babies will be coming up on their 3rd birthday this coming August. My question, that I cannot find an answer to anywhere on the internet is: how long does it take these babies to reach their adult size? They are both still pretty tiny in my opinion. They are fed well and kept in appropriate conditions yet they are still very tiny. I would say approximately 10-12 inches long and about the girth of a #2 pencil give or take. Is this normal? They are on a pinky mouse diet chopped into 3 pieces because they are still too small to swallow a whole pinky. I will add that after Google imaging results I am uncertain if they are California Red Sided Garters. I get conflicting images. However, I will state that they are not the California Red Sided Garters who have blue or bright red in their scale patterns. They are a dull red with a dull yellow underbelly and stripe down the back. The rest of the patterns are filled in with black. Afterall, this is a company who sold a "male" snake and the snake ended up being a very pregnant female. If anyone has any guidance or experiance with young California red sided garters or garters of this species I would appreciate any input.
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Old 07-05-18, 02:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: California Red Sided Garter snake. Need help from experianced owners!

I don't have hands on experience with garters as pets (only easterns I have found native where I live) but I am pretty sure that yours are underfed. I have kept Kings, corns and a hognose (all in the same colubrid family as garters) and they could all handle a pinky very easily at that size.
Pinkies are primarily water, since they haven't had any time to develop much of anything else. My guess is the snake is underfedand won't grow much on basically a water diet.

Hopefully somebody with garter experience will chime in...
What does the snake weigh?
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Old 07-09-18, 07:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: California Red Sided Garter snake. Need help from experianced owners!

If they're anything like my eastern and checkered garters, a long time. My checkered was growing quite noticeably up until ~4 years old, and he may still have grown a few more inches now that he's just about 5 years old.

The eastern has put on a lot of weight since I got him, but I have no idea if he's grown any in length, he's the same age as the checkered.

I never measured my garters until the past year, but 10"-12" seems fine for 3 years old, depending on how large that species gets. My checkered was in the 30-40 gram range during his 3rd year, and the eastern was about 35 grams on his 3rd birthday (after I had him a year). Last weight I got on the eastern was 42 grams, but that was almost 2 years ago. Last weight on the checkered was 55 grams 2 years ago as well. There is half a foot in difference between the two, so that tells you how overweight the eastern used to be. lmao

At 3 years, I would expect them to be eating whole mouse pinks, or even whole rat pinks, but imo a slower growth isn't necessarily unhealthy. Especially since they seem to still be getting the entire pinky, just cut up.

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Originally Posted by craigafrechette View Post
I don't have hands on experience with garters as pets (only easterns I have found native where I live) but I am pretty sure that yours are underfed. I have kept Kings, corns and a hognose (all in the same colubrid family as garters) and they could all handle a pinky very easily at that size.
Pinkies are primarily water, since they haven't had any time to develop much of anything else. My guess is the snake is underfedand won't grow much on basically a water diet.

Hopefully somebody with garter experience will chime in...
What does the snake weigh?
Pinks should be more than enough for garters. I didn't raise the eastern, but the checkered was raised on mouse pink halves, then whole mouse pinks, then multiple mouse pinks, and finally rat pinks, and he managed to get a respectable size for a male checkered: 26". And even when he was eating pink halves, I never fed him more often than every 7 days, and when he was here, I actually started spacing his feedings out to 10-12 days as an adult, since he was getting chunky.

Pinks may not be sufficient for a larger snake, but are plenty for garters as far as I can tell.
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Old 07-09-18, 09:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: California Red Sided Garter snake. Need help from experianced owners!

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Originally Posted by bigsnakegirl785 View Post
If they're anything like my eastern and checkered garters, a long time. My checkered was growing quite noticeably up until ~4 years old, and he may still have grown a few more inches now that he's just about 5 years old.

The eastern has put on a lot of weight since I got him, but I have no idea if he's grown any in length, he's the same age as the checkered.

I never measured my garters until the past year, but 10"-12" seems fine for 3 years old, depending on how large that species gets. My checkered was in the 30-40 gram range during his 3rd year, and the eastern was about 35 grams on his 3rd birthday (after I had him a year). Last weight I got on the eastern was 42 grams, but that was almost 2 years ago. Last weight on the checkered was 55 grams 2 years ago as well. There is half a foot in difference between the two, so that tells you how overweight the eastern used to be. lmao

At 3 years, I would expect them to be eating whole mouse pinks, or even whole rat pinks, but imo a slower growth isn't necessarily unhealthy. Especially since they seem to still be getting the entire pinky, just cut up.



Pinks should be more than enough for garters. I didn't raise the eastern, but the checkered was raised on mouse pink halves, then whole mouse pinks, then multiple mouse pinks, and finally rat pinks, and he managed to get a respectable size for a male checkered: 26". And even when he was eating pink halves, I never fed him more often than every 7 days, and when he was here, I actually started spacing his feedings out to 10-12 days as an adult, since he was getting chunky.

Pinks may not be sufficient for a larger snake, but are plenty for garters as far as I can tell.
Thanks! I was waiting for somebody with garter experience to chime in.
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