Scott Felzer's Garter Snakes, Specializing in Aberrant Garters



Please use this sheet as a guide to proper Garter Care. I've found after years of keeping Garters this way works best for me.

Albino Garter SnakeCaging  -  Keep  babies  in  a  small   container  initially,  large containers tend to be over-whelming for neonates. As they grow, graduate  them  to  a  29  or  50-gallon aquarium or similar sized container. Make sure the lid is tight fit-garter snakes are escape artists!

Substrate - Newspaper works great, as they defecate, replace as  needed.  Other good  substrates are Tekfresh  or carefresh. These products are comprised of wood byproducts and are very pliable,  allowing   them  to  pass   safely  if   ingested   (in  small quantities per the product’s labeling).

Heat source - Although not mandatory, a heat source will  benefit  your  snake.  Use  either an  under the tank heater or flexwatt heat  tape. If using flexwatt, make sure you  use  a  dimmer  switch.  Without   a  dimmer  switch, flexwatt  heat  tape  gets  VERY  hot  and can potentially harm  the  snakes.  Place the heat source at one end of the  cage.  This  way  the  snake  will  have the option of going  to  either  the  warm,  heated  end  or  to the cool, room  temperature  end. Optimum  daytime  temp  is  85 degrees  Fahrenheit; nighttime temps should drop to the mid  70’s. A  timer  works great to  automatically  turn the tape on and off at desired times.

Water bowl - I  prefer  small,  heavy  duty water bowls. These  tend to be stable and difficult to tip over. Garters do  tend to defecate in their  water bowls  occasionally  so check their water  frequently. Place  the water bowl at the opposite end of where the heat source lies.

Hide box - To finalize your snake’s setup, place a hide box or a piece of newspaper in their cage, 2 if using a heat source. Place one at  the  cool end of the cage and the other over the

heat source.

Miscellaneous - Another good item to keep on hand are small, jagged rocks. These help to facilitate the shedding of their skin.

Diet -Garter snakes tend to have a varied diet in the wild. They will often specialize in a particular item that is indigenous to the area  that they are found. They are opportunistic  by nature and are known  to  feed on  fish,  worms,  frogs,  toads,  salamanders,  lizards, snakes  (some  species are cannibalistic),  birds, rodents and  carrion. Food items  that are  generally readily  available  at pet stores are feeder fish, earthworms and mice (recommend frozen). Baby garters can be started out on  feeder fish (rosies or guppies),  earthworms or pinky/mice parts. Adults can be fed feeder fish, earthworms  or mice (most  adult  females can  feed on  small adult mice (12-18 grams),  males on large  pinkies or fuzzies). Babies may have to  be trained to take rodents,  which they generally do with minimal effort. What  we do is to place the  pinky parts in with the  feeder fish. If  they take the mouse  parts,  the  next meal try the mouse  part by itself. If it  takes  it then, continue  feeding the unscented  parts  until  they  are  large  enough  to  take  a  whole  pinky. If they  don't  go for  the unscented mouse part, try  again with the feeder fish  and repeat this process until they do switch. If  your  snake  is  fed  on  a   fish  or  worm  diet  on  a long term basis,  would  highly recommend complementing their  diet with a vitamin  supplement. If your snakes are fed on  an all rodent  diet, vitamin  supplements are not needed. Baby  garters  should be fed every 3 to 4  days, sub  adults and  adults every 7 to 8  days. Feeding  adults more  frequently all  year long  can lead  to obesity and, ultimately, a shortened life span.

** If you are feeding in a group setting, watch them closely so that they don't grab the same food item and potentially cannibalize their cagemate. After feeding, wash them off thoroughly in water.

We house and feed our entire collection individually so to prevent this from happening.

Plains High red WenzelHibernation - Brumating  is  not mandatory for babies  in  their  first   year  of   life   and   would recommend not doing so unless they go off feed in the fall or  winter  (3 successive meals without eating and they  are  NOT in shed). If they do go off  feed then  it is  best to  put  them  down  into hibernation.    55    degrees    is    the   optimum temperature for hibernating. Fluctuations of plus or  minus   5  degrees   are   acceptable  as  this emulates natural  fluctuations  in the  wild. When hibernating,  place  them  in complete  darkness, provide   them  with  fresh  water  and  check  on them    periodically.   Adults    are   prepped   for hibernation by  feeding the collection  heavily for the  month before they are to  be put down. This helps to fatten them up for their long winter sleep. From the last meal that they are fed, wait three to four weeks (two and a  half to three weeks for  babies) so to  allow them time to clean  out their systems of all fecal and urine matter.


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