Garter snakes are one of the most popular snake species in North America and are usually kept as pets since they are relatively harmless and easy to care for. You might want to keep a garter snake as a pet or might be dealing with some wild garter snakes around your house. If this is the case, the next question on your mind will be “what do garter snakes eat?”
In this article, we look at what these garter snakes feed on in the wild, in case you have some in your backyard, and how you should take care of them as pets. Let’s take a closer look at what garter snakes eat.
Garter snakes are usually small, up to 30 inches long. Some species can even reach five feet long. But despite their small size, garter snakes are pretty skilled hunters. These snakes can feed on different animals, making them great for controlling insect and rodent populations. Gardeners even raise them to keep pests away.
You can recognize a garter snake by the stripes behind its body. There are three stripes, one running down their backs and the others at the sides of their body. The stripes can be green or yellow.
Some garter snakes don’t have any recognizable stripes, while others have different colors on the stripes.
Garter snakes are a species of snakes found throughout North and Central America. It is a member of the Colubridae family, the largest family of snakes. Most Colubrids are harmless to humans, and the garter snake is one of them.
The snake has mild neurotoxic venom that isn’t harmful to humans, and they hardly ever bite.
However, some snakes are dangerous and their bites can be fatal. If you want to protect yourself when in the wild, use the best snake gaiters.
The unpleasant smell can easily be used to identify garter snakes, which is difficult to eliminate. As for appearance, the garter snake comes in different patterns and colors based on the species.
There are 30 known species of garter snakes.
With this information, you have a foundation for these small snakes. So, what do garter snakes like to eat? Let’s explore that in the following sections.
If you have a pet or wild garter snake Trusted Source Common Gartersnake Fact sheet about the Common Gartersnake produced by the Connecticut DEEP Wildlife Division. portal.ct.gov , you may ask yourself “what do snakes eat?“. If you’re wondering what small garter snakes eat in the wild, the answer is mostly other small animals.
Garter snakes keep a varied diet in the wild to get all the nutrition they need. These snakes will feed on amphibians and small mammals but can also occasionally eat fish, leeches, slugs, lizards, and smaller snakes, depending on what is available.
They eat anything they can fit in their mouths due to their small size. For instance, a juvenile garter snake will go for nightcrawlers and earthworms since they are smaller. You will also see wild garter snakes eating small mammals like mice. Remember that amphibians and fish are their main diet because they spend much time close to water.
Because of their small size and lack of venom, garter snakes stick to small and weak animals that they can ambush and swallow at once. They also don’t eat dead or decomposing animals but prefer those alive. Sometimes, they will eat eggs from reptiles and birds for protein, as these are easy targets.
Other foods they can eat in the wild include snails, slugs, crickets, grasshoppers, salamanders, newts, shrews, chipmunks, and baby and juvenile snakes. They can get food despite their small size due to their top hunting skills. These snakes have an excellent sense of smell and sight.
Now, what do pet garter snakes eat? Although variety is important when feeding your pet, getting all the animals they hunt is not always possible. You can opt for whole mice, whether live or frozen, as these are more nutritious than fish or frogs. The MiceDirect will provide your garter snake with the necessary nutrition.
While training your garter snake to eat mice, you should supplement their meals with other foods. Garter snakes also like to eat frogs, but these amphibians are hard to find, and if you do find them, they may have many parasites that can make your snake sick.
Fish, leeches, and slugs are good too but are not very nutritious, so they can only be used to supplement the diet.
You can try out earthworms found in your yard too, but you’ll need to chop them up first, so they don’t crawl out of the snake’s mouth. Otherwise, you can buy the Exo Terra Specialty.
Don’t feed your garter snake red wrigglers Trusted Source Feeding Earthworms: Red Wigglers vs. Nightcrawlers - Gartersnake.info Red wigglers — the worms used in composting — are plentiful and easy to raise. But you can’t use them to feed your garter snakes; here’s why. www.gartersnake.info since these are toxic to them. And, if their diet consists mostly of earthworms, you’ll need to add food with a lot of calcium. The frequency and amount of food you give to your garter snake depends on the size, age, and type of food.
For instance, feeding them earthworms means they will need food up to three times a week, while mice eaters will be satisfied if fed once a week.
Feed juvenile garter snakes more often since they are still growing, but be careful because they can get obese before you know it, especially when their diet mainly consists of mice.
Now that you know what garter snakes eat, keep in mind that collecting frogs, lizards, and other snakes from the wild to feed your garter snake might come with legal complications. Mice are generally the safest thing to feed your garter snakes in captivity.
What do baby garter snakes eat?
If you have baby garter snakes, you should mostly feed them earthworms, guppies, nightcrawlers, and cut up tilapia or plain chicken. They eat small fish too. Regardless of what you’re feeding them, you should cut it up to make it easier to eat, and water should always be available. Feed the baby garter snake every other day. Once it becomes a juvenile snake, you can feed the pet twice a week with a diet of feeder guppies, earthworms, minnows, and fish fillet.
What do eastern garter snakes eat?
Eastern garter snakes Trusted Source Eastern Gartersnake | Missouri Department of Conservation The eastern gartersnake is Missouri's most common gartersnake. The color is variable (dark brown, greenish, or olive), but there are normally three yellowish stripes, one down the back and one on each side. mdc.mo.gov will eat toads, slugs, frogs, worms, and other animals that they can easily overpower. These snakes go for small mammals, earthworms, leeches, insects, snails, and other similar prey.
Now that you know the answer to what garter snakes eat, you can take care of your new snake pet. If you have garter snakes in your garden, they might be the reason why you can keep the pests away. But if you want to know how to get rid of snakes around your house without killing them, just get rid of their food sources.