On a cold day last November, a baby eastern garter snake was brought into WRC.
It was found hibernating in an Arden Hills basement. This tiny snake was smaller than a pencil when it was brought in.
Females do not lay eggs like a lot of snakes do, they give birth to live young. The young are small, defenseless and have many predators. This baby found what it thought was a good hibernation spot. Usually these snakes hibernate in large groups under rocks or the abandoned dens of other animals. They emerge in early spring and make useful yard-mates because they eat slugs, and other pest insects. They are not venomous but will bite if you handle them improperly. The baby garter snake at WRC is fed grubs, minnows and crickets while it is in the hospital. It is doing very well and sheds its skin as it grows. It weighed 4 grams when it arrived and now weighs 8.6 grams. It will be released early this spring into a good habitat where it can find plenty of cover. Eastern garter snakes can live to be around 10 years old.
Late last October, a hatchling common snapping turtle presented to WRC very weak and non alert. The turtle was found on a path heading away from the lake it had no doubt hatched near. The baby snapping turtle we have been rehabilitating may live to be near 100 years old if everything goes well for it. The common snapping turtle is a really interesting animal. The tiny quarter size hatchling’s are mostly eaten by predators.
During the summer months many large adult snapping turtles present to WRC due to being hit by cars while trying to get to their preferred breeding or hibernating spots. Many are released after a couple months of cage rest, pain medication, and anti-biotic treatment for the large wounds in their carapaces. It is important to release snapping turtles near the water where they are found because they will travel to get to a preferred location and risk crossing roads to get there. A snapping turtle will not begin to reproduce until it is around 10 years old. The death of one large, older turtle could make a sizable loss in population for that area because they are so slow to reach reproductive age.