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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How to Properly Handle Water Snakes

I’ve already mentioned that water snakes make interesting and good pets. Still, since they exist in the wild, they have instincts that cause them to be cautious of people, whether the snake came from a pet store or was caught out in the wild. It is a good thing that it isn’t at all difficult to hand tame these snakes or to handle them properly. The snake breed By using the term, ‘water snake,’ people should understand that this doesn’t mean all snakes that live in the water. Indeed, many snakes spend a great deal of their time in lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and even in the ocean. However, water snakes are those belonging to specific species. These snakes are occasionally known to bite but they seldom do, unless they are stressed and feel frightened, or when they are trying to protect themselves. Even when they do bite, the snake is harmless and shouldn’t be feared. True water snakes are docile animals. The snake’s trust As with nearly all wild animals, in order for water snakes to accept a person’s touch, the snakes need to build up some trust so they know that they aren’t going to be hurt. It can help a person to know that they don’t bite often, since the trust works both ways. Snakes have the ability to sense fear, just as many animals can, and fear can make them nervous. The first step is then to understand the snake and to not be afraid of Continue Reading →

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Setting up a tank for water snakes

In most of the places where we have lived, there have been water snakes nearby. I’ve rescued several and have had the fortune to keep some as pets. Water snakes can be really interesting pets. They are usually mild-tempered and they usually aren’t difficult to feed. To keep them as pets, though, it is a good idea to set up a tank properly to house the snake so it can remain healthy. Tank selection for water snakes When selecting the tank, remember that it needs to be big enough for the snake to be comfortable. This might seem to be a common sense statement, and it is, but water snakes tend to grow larger as they get older. A person who has a baby water snake and gets a tank that has a capacity of five gallons may quickly find that the tank is far too small. A good size to begin with is a 20-gallon aquarium capable of holding water. A 55-gallon tank is even better since it affords the snake more room to move around. A glass aquarium is preferred over plastic as it doesn’t scratch as easily. Tank cover It is important to know that water snakes are master escape artists. For this reason, there should be a tight-fitting tank cover that allows for air circulation but which has a fine enough mesh that the snake can’t wiggle through. There are specialty tank covers on the market that are designed to contain reptiles in glass aquariums and Continue Reading →

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