Common Garter Snake

There are more than 2,700 species of snakes around the world, and since that little ordeal in the Garden of Eden, they have gotten a bad rap. Granted, there are some extremely dangerous, venomous snakes out there, but the majority of them are harmless, even beneficial as they eat insects and rodents.

This one, the Common Garter snake is quite prevalent here in Wisconsin. I remember finding them, as a kid, crawling through the grass in the backyard. I had a couple friends that kept them as pets. They always fascinated me – a trait which DOES NOT run in my family. My Dad hates snakes in the way I hate spiders. I even hate typing the word spider. ugh.

So, what do we know about the Common Garter snake?

• It can grow up to 3 ft. in length.

• It is diurnal – active in the morning and late afternoon. In cold climates, it hibernates during the winter, sharing a den with other, sometimes many other snakes.

• The female gives birth to live young – no eggs! The litter consists of 12 – 40 baby garters.

• Their diet consists mainly of earthworms and amphibians, but they also eat rodents, fish and small birds.

• In all snakes, due to their slender bodies, duplicate organs, like lungs and kidneys, are placed one in front of the other, instead of side by side.

When out shooting, try a snake’s-eye view of your subject. Get on your belly and get the lens close to the ground – a neat perspective that you don’t often see.

Canon EOS 5D
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM


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