Garter Snake/ Water Snake

We have very few species of Snakes in Southern and Eastern Ontario. Where I live, I have only ever seen “Garter Snakes” and “Water Snakes” Since we are such a cold climate, the largest snakes around here are only around 2.5Ft long. Near Georgian Bay, and the Bruce Peninsula of Lake Huron, they have the only Rattlesnake in Ontario which is known as the Massasauga Rattlesnake. They are incredibly rare, and although they are venomous, it is extremely rare for a human to be bitten because of their extreme timid nature. At one time the Massasauga Rattlesnake was found as far east as the 1000 Islands and the extreme western portion of the St Lawrence River. Or at least I have heard this rumored to be true.

One time when biking on Ault Island in Stormont County, I heard what I thought was a rattling sound. I am extremely doubtful, but perhaps it was possible it was caused by a Massasauga Rattlesnake.

 

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Garter Snake, Cooling Off, 2019

 

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Garter Snake, Cooling Off, 2019

 

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Garter Snake, Cooling Off, 2019

This summer I got really good photos of a Garter Snake that seemed to have heat exhaustion on a 30C day in Early July. At first I thought it was injured, but eventually it slithered away. I think it over heated in the sun, and had to cool off in the shade so that it could gain its energy back. Usually Garter Snakes are incredibly fast, and seem almost impossible to photograph during the day.

 

In 2013 I was out walking by the river in Cornwall, when I saw a Garter Snake slithering in the snow on a very mild 7C day. I was amazed to see this in January, but it was in slow motion and seemed to be partially frozen.

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Garter Snake in Snow, Tounge, 2013

 

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Garter Snake in Snow, 2013

 

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Garter Snake in Snow, Tounge, 2013

I have also seen Water Snakes. In 2009 when I was living in Kingston, I went to a Conservation Area in Loyalist County near Amherstview. I got some pictures of a Water Snake basking on a Rock in the Water. Perhaps these snakes can grow a tiny bit bigger than a Garter Snake, but they are still very small.

 

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Water Snake, 2009

 

I am glad that we do not have to worry much about dangerous snakes in Ontario. But it is still nice to see a Garter Snake, or Water Snake slithering past.

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