The Differences Between Garter Snakes and Water Snakes

  In the United States, and the rest of America, garter snakes and water snakes may be easily confused with each other. Both snakes are common, nonvenomous, growing up to between two and five-feet when they become mature. Each is found throughout a wide range in the United States, Canada and Mexico and they often occupy similar areas. In some species, their coloring and markings may even appear quite similar. However, there are several differences between them. The garter snakes belong to the genus Thamnophis. There are almost 30 species of garter snakes. The water snakes are in the genus Nerodia, and include about 10 known species. Both garter snakes and water snakes include many subspecies. Species and subspecies are sometimes categorized differently by different organizations. It should be noted that while anacondas and some kinds of boas and pythons often live in and around water, none are water snakes or garter snakes. Garter snakes have markings that resemble a garter belt, hence the name. They usually have one or three stripes running along the length of their body with checkered markings between the stripes. Garter snakes are usually more slender for their length than are water snakes. Water snakes are often brown or dark green in color, with markings of black, brown, or yellow. They have thicker, heavier bodies for their length than do garter snakes. With both water snakes and garter snakes, though, markings may be faded and blurred, making it more difficult to tell the difference between Continue Reading →

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Non-poisonous Flea Killer for Cats and Dogs

  One problem that most dog and cat owners usually have to deal with sooner or later is fleas. A lot of money is spent every year on flea collars, dips, sprays and shampoos. There are a few¬†problems with these. First, they are expensive. Flea collars often cost $10-15 each, for example. Second, they aren’t very effective. If there is an infestation, collars don’t work well and shampoos need to be used every three days, since it only takes that long for flea eggs to hatch. Third, most of these contain pyrethrin, which are poisonous to the pets. Pyrethrin is a natural substance that comes from a particular kind of chrysanthemum and though it will kill fleas, it is harmful to cats and dogs, particularly cats. Unfortunately, fleas are also harmful to the pets, too. In fact, one kind of worms that cats often have comes from eating cat fleas that carry the worms. This isn’t the only problem, of course. There are diseases the fleas can carry, including bubonic plague, and in a particularly bad infestation, the fleas can actually drink so much of the pet’s blood that the animal can become anemic. This is particularly bad for kittens, which don’t have a lot of blood to begin with. Pyrethrin is definite a bad thing to use on kittens, too, as it could kill them. Thankfully, there is a flea killer that isn’t poisonous. It works well, it is just as natural and organic as pyrethrin without the hazards Continue Reading →

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