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Old 08-27-22, 08:38 AM   #1
DaBaum
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Co-habitating baby garters

I have a plains garter that can't be much more than 4 - 6 weeks old. I also have a checkered garter that isn't much older but is bigger. (maybe a month older with more girth, head size and a little more length.)



I had planned to house them together in the same terrarium until I saw checkered garters as being one of the garter species that may exhibit cannibalistic behavior according to Reptifiles: https://reptifiles.com/garter-snake-care-sheet/


I had always understood these instances of cannibalism were only related to food-fights. I'd really like for the two of these guys to be buddies as they both seem a little lonely.


Any incite would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-29-22, 09:33 AM   #2
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Re: Co-habitating baby garters

Snakes cannot feel lonely. They lack the portion of the brain associated with thought processes like that. They can feel stress related to fight/flight, which can be triggered by being housed with other snakes.

That all said, garters are one of the few that tolerate cohabitation well. You should stick to one species per enclosure. You also need to keep an eye on them when they're eating to make sure they don't both start eating opposite ends of the same meal- that'll result in an injured or dead snake.
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Old 08-30-22, 07:08 PM   #3
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Re: Co-habitating baby garters

One of the two individuals referenced. WC in Story County Iowa.
4 week - even smaller.jpg
"He" may have been a litter runt as his behavior when I captured him was so much different than the other neonates I've encountered (in my yard.)
And "he" is so tiny then and now especially when compared to his contemporaries populating my fenceline.

The other youngsters I've seen this week in the yard appear to be much darker than this photo shows. I suppose they could be a different species

Anyway ... Is this T. Radix?
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Old 09-01-22, 02:57 PM   #4
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Re: Co-habitating baby garters

Or you can release wild animals and purchase captive ones.

I wouldn't co-hab snakes that are of a substantial size difference. Even if you're feeding them well enough, the big one just needs to be extra hungry.
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Old 09-01-22, 07:59 PM   #5
DaBaum
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Re: Co-habitating baby garters

Yes, the Plains Garter will go back to the wild. I'll be sad. "He" is so much fun to have around. He's growing and eats like a pig now. (So, he's always "happy" to see me.


The biggest question I have now is whether he'll go back now or in the spring. Both of my neighbors (to the North and East of my house) will kill Garter Snakes on sight. I've been unsuccessful with my attempts to convince them that the snakes are harmless. My (large) yard is a garter snake sanctuary and I've even had some success with developing a lawn-mower accident avoidance technique. It now takes me about 6 hours to mow my entire lawn. (it used to take 2 or 3 hours.) I successfully avoided running over one of my mature females this very evening.


Whether he goes back in now or in the spring, he certainly will not be housed with the Checkered. I found yet another website that lists Checkered Garters as one of the species that may exhibit cannibalistic behavior: (gartersnake.info) That little guy will have to live life as a bachelor and I'm sure, in time, he will become as friendly, entertaining and engaging as the Plains. (He certainly is handsome.)



Oh yeah, I'll answer my own question: 95% sure "he" is Thomnophis Radix. They just seem to get darker as they mature.

Last edited by DaBaum; 09-01-22 at 08:09 PM..
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