View Full Version : Delaying birth..?

07-06-2006, 07:01 AM

I just want to take the chance to make a short introduction about myself and to report a strange story about the litter of my Santa-Cruz-Garter Snake (T. atratus atratus) only two days ago.

So letís begin.

I live in Berlin, Germany (that country in Europe wich organizes the Fifa WM 2006 Ė but Iím no football-fan in any way).
Some years ago I started keeping Garter Snakes and until now I have about 40 beautiful Garter and Ribbon Snakes. My possibilities to keep my snakes are a little limited, because I can only keep them inside my flat. Some other people that I know are also having them in outside cages Ė this would be the next step if I ever won a lottery ;-).
My favourite Garter Snakes are the Blacknecked Garter Snake (T. cyrtopsis), the Coast Garter Snake (T. elegans terrestris) and due to her beauty the Oregon Red-Spotted Garter Snakes (T. sirtalis concinnus) Ė but there is no one that I do not like (even though T. rufipunctatus as an example will never be a favourite of mine).

My little strange story about Lilí Cruz (thatís the name of the Santa-Cruz Garter Snake I will write about):

It was 101 days ago that Lilí Cruz was visited the first time by a pretty male of the same subspecies. The last days before I was very sure that she should get her litter every moment. On the 4th of July the waiting was over, because at that moment I came home she was giving birth to her first babysnake. I was very happy and I planned to stay in proximity to have a look how long it would take and so on.

But to my surprise she stopped giving birth after that one and only babysnake. The little snake was already shedding correctly for the first time and I waited and waitedÖ So, I went away form the terrarium and hoped that she would resume giving birth undisturbed. Deep in the night I caught Lilí Cruz from her terrarium and searched for new babysnakes or eggs. What I found was nothing new! I began to get a little nervous.

The next day I called my veterinary to ask him what to do. He told me that I shouldnít wait longer than two days after starting of birth to get to him with the female. As I drove home I was very unsure what would expect me.

But Lilí Cruz was having everything under control Ė 8 new babysnakes were crawling in her terrarium and you all can surely image how happy I felt. I caught the new babysnakes from the terrarium and now Iíve bin wondering everytime I take a look at them how big and burly they are from day one.

Does that sounds strange or could it happen not so seldom as Iíd thought?

Best regards


PS: Please donít be so strict with my English, Iím still learning how to find the right words.

07-08-2006, 06:19 AM
Your English is excellent, and I have to admit I don't know if that's normal or not, but if she's okay, and the babies are okay, then I wouldn't worry too much. How about posting some pics of the babies? :)

07-09-2006, 02:18 AM

of course - she is doing fine!

I have attached a picture from the two of the little ones (the day they were born).

Best regards


07-09-2006, 01:49 PM
They're cute. :) How big are they at birth? There's nothing to show size, comparatively speaking.

Glad they're all doing well.

07-09-2006, 04:34 PM

I was marvelling because og their size - they have 20 cm (some a little more). As I was getting my adult T. atratus atratus, they were very small and thin (maybe at most 15 cm).
I forget to put an Eurocent next to them ;-)

Today I was feeding the babies for the first time - and 50% were very greedily, after two hours the small bowl with fish and sticks from rat was blank.

Best regards


07-10-2006, 09:34 AM
Wow! That's a pretty respectable size. How big is Mama Snake? Most of the snakes I see in my yard are pretty small.

07-12-2006, 02:35 AM
Hello QuietLunatic,

Mama Snake is having a total lenght of 65 cm - not very large but beautiful ;-)
Where are you coming from - is the Santa Cruz Garter Snake found in your area?

Edit: I saw it a moment later, you're from the Nova Scotia. I'm curious; did you saw the Northern Ribbon Snake (T. sauritus septentrionalis) in your area? When I think back correctly these species was new to the Nova Scotia...?

Best regards


07-12-2006, 12:48 PM
Just thought I would add some information for reference. :)

Northern Ribbon Snake

Maritime Garter Snake


07-12-2006, 01:50 PM
Thank you very much Jason - both subspecies are quite unknown for European Garter Snake Fans.

Best regards


07-15-2006, 09:05 AM
I'm happy that everything worked out, as I was reading I didn't think the babies were going to be okay. And yes, they are big for newborns.

07-17-2006, 02:13 PM
Hi, I had something similar happen with my common garters, she gave birth to one on the 6th July, i saw it and searched for more but couldn't find any, then she gave birth again on 9th july to 3 live and 9 dead. Unfortunately i think i may have disturbed her when i saw the one and assumed she had finished giving birth.

The four live are a good size about 4inches, they are all doing well.

07-20-2006, 11:29 AM
They're cute. :) How big are they at birth? There's nothing to show size, comparatively speaking.

Glad they're all doing well.
Hi jan.my name is johann from montreal canada my dad lives in berlin.congrats on becomming a dad.I know how you feel. my three feamales gave birth between the 1st.& 4th. of july.again congratulations.

07-21-2006, 02:15 AM
Hi jan.my name is johann from montreal canada my dad lives in berlin.congrats on becomming a dad.I know how you feel. my three feamales gave birth between the 1st.& 4th. of july.again congratulations.


thank you very much.

The little Santa Cruz Garter's are very funny and every feeding brings out a new surprise. Sometimes they only eat fish but next time they refuse the fish and are attacking the sticks from young frozen rats. When I feed them only one sort of food - they need a very long time to come out and start eating; if it's mixed food they are much faster - funny little ones ;-)

Best regards


07-21-2006, 07:56 PM
It's always fun watching them give borth. My Oregon red spot had 7 babies today, just missed her popping!!! :( They are large for garter snakes, measured out at 8 inches in length!!!! lets see if this works...


07-24-2006, 09:07 AM
thanks jan! i was just about to go downstairs to feed my 3 litters when i read your reply about mixing their food.i hope it works.my situation is a little more complicated.my 3 females gave birth to a combined total of 80 babies,in four colours-lite orange-dark orange-chartruce and silver grey.i'll talk to you later. my name in english is john.

08-08-2006, 07:17 PM
Hi Jan, pretty babies she has given you.
T. a. atratus is a great snake; I also have a couple.

The delaying of birth is something that happens so every now and then. I know it from Pantherophis guttatus and other ratsnakes. They can stop giving birth/laying eggs when they are disturbed.
It looks to me a normal phenomenon that probably also will occur in the wild.
It is a way of protecting the young/eggs when a predator is around.

Greetings from your neigbouring country...

08-09-2006, 10:43 AM
Hello Thamnophis,

the next time I'll move to her terrarium I will introduce myself as Jan...the Predator ;-)
My atratus babies are great - I was a little afraid, that they would strongly bite each other when it's time for food, but not like my concinnus and terrestris youngsters they are very calm and friendly to each other.
Thanks for your reply!

Best regards from Jan.

08-14-2006, 03:26 PM
just whant to say..cute babys:D !!