Written by Jan Macek of New Mexico
My husband and I do free educational snake programs and we will also rescue nonvenomous snakes from people’s yards or help them to identify snakes. A few weeks ago, I got a call from a lady who said she had a small snake in her yard and she was afraid it was a rattlesnake. I told her that a pointy tail in Los Alamos County indicates a nonvenomous snake but she couldn’t tell if the tail was pointy. When we got there, her husband had put it in a container and the poor thing was half dead and very dehydrated (it hadn’t rained in weeks). The reason the lady couldn’t give me info about the tail was she said the snake had gotten run over by a bike (I suspect her kids?) and the tail was mangled.
The snake is still alive after three weeks and part of the tail is gone, but it can still poop so the vent area is okay. Unfortunately, it won’t eat on its own so I am having to open its mouth and gently slide frozen/thawed cut up food down its throat.
Garter snakes have live birth, just like rattlesnakes and baby garters are being born end of June and into July. The egg layers, like bullsnakes, etc., are usually hatched out in August and September. Sadly, because any snake will try to defend itself, many people kill defenseless snakes like garters and bullsnakes thinking they are venomous. I am grateful that the lady did call me and that the snake survived, but it can never be released back in the wild. I have no idea if it will even survive. Time will tell.
Please be kind to snakes. They help balance the rodent population. Garters are especially beneficial in the garden because they eat mice and also slugs. Rattlesnake venom is used in medicines to help humans. The least we can do is to help snakes. They are good creatures, afraid of us, and all they want is to be left alone. This is their world, too, so please share it with them.
Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase