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Latin name: Thamnophis sirtalis concinnus
This individual is a young female male who was born in 2021. She’s about 16” in length and is eating worms, silversides, and the occasional scented mouse.
Lifestyle and habitat: Oregon Red-Spotted Garter Snakes are native to the central and northern Oregon coast as well as the southern Washington coast. They are usually found near water and make their homes in marshes, wetlands, in meadows and near streams. They primarily eat worms and other invertebrates, amphibians, and even small fish in their natural habitat.
Size and lifespan: Oregon Red-Spot Garter Snakes snakes typically grow up to 3’ and stay slim and light-bodied. Females will be longer and heavier than males. They can live up to 10 years in human care.
Quick care stats:
Temperatures: 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the basking area, 75 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool end.
Humidity: Wide range 40%-60%. light misting can be done 1x daily but is not required.
Tank size: 10 gallons for babies/juveniles, 30+ gallons for adults.
Tank type: Standard rectangle-allow for good floor space but some climbing structures as well. Make sure it has a secure sliding door/doors. Sit-atop screen lids for glass tanks are not recommended for these guys, snakes are escape artists!
Lighting and heating: Both a heat pad and a dimmable heat lamp are recommended for snakes living in glass tanks. Use only a dimmable heat bulb for a wood or melamine tank. Thermostats are also helpful. Full spectrum UVB lighting is but is highly recommended for this species because they are active during the day.
Substrate and furniture: Soil or bark substrate 2"deep or deeper. Provide lots of hiding places and some low climbing areas. Provide a large deep water dish; garter snakes are excellent swimmers and will even hunt for live fish in their water bowl if given the opportunity.
Handling: Garter snakes are recommended to mainly be display snakes. When handled, they can be very fast and flighty and even produce a foul-smelling fluid from their vents in an effort to deter a potential predator. With this said, careful handling can be done infrequently and a garter snake keeper can work towards getting their snake more comfortable with human contact over time.
When not to handle: After the snake has eaten, give them 2-3 days to digest their food before handling them again. When you first bring the snake home or move it to a new enclosure, wait at least 3 days before handling it to give it a chance to settle in to the new environment.
Feeding frequency: every 4-5 days for babies, 1x per week for juveniles and adults. Prey item should be as wide as the widest part of the snake's body.