Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19
Like Tree2Likes

Thread: Getting WC baby garters to eat

  1. #1
    Hi, I'm New Here!
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    11
    Country: United States

    Getting WC baby garters to eat

    Hey y'all,

    I ended up in the possession of 3 WC baby garters (maybe only a few days old, caught in my friend's house).. I've always wanted to start a garter colony, so I thought I'd try my hand at these little guys. They've been home with me for 24hours now, and I figure I'll try feeding them in another 1-2 days, but the question is.. what? They're so small that I'm not sure what the best to start them at would be. I have frozen basa and tilapia fillets that I could try as well.. thoughts?

    IMG_20200913_180139.jpg

  2. #2
    Never shed
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Posts
    29
    Country: United States

    Re: Getting WC baby garters to eat

    Good looking babies. So...with fish the greatest issue is usually thiaminase. It causes a series of reactions that destroy vitamin B1. I'm fairly certain tilapia doesn't contain thiaminase, but think that some of the catfish family may. Some have had success with tilapia, but I've heard stories of some containing additives that have killed snakes. If I were you I'd try either earthworms or nightcrawlers, or pinky legs and tails. If earthworms, start small. A piece the size of their head every day or a couple every other day is enough. If pinky parts, a couple legs every few days will do. If they have a nice little lump, they've eaten enough. If it disappears, you can probably feed them some more. I firmly believe newborn garters can eat themselves to death, so I'd start slow. In a month they'll be eating their own body weight every couple of days. That's what I'd do anyways...oh, and watch them as they eat. If two begin eating on the opposite end of a prey item, they'll meet in the middle and the larger, dominant one will keep going. Instead of one really fat snake you'll have two really dead snakes.
    Albert Clark likes this.

  3. #3
    Never shed
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Posts
    29
    Country: United States

    Re: Getting WC baby garters to eat

    P.s If they are one of the Piscivorous species of garter, there's a post on safe fish on here somewhere.

  4. #4
    Hi, I'm New Here!
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    11
    Country: United States

    Re: Getting WC baby garters to eat

    Thank you! I just learned that Basa are a no go, so I've scrapped that option. I might try digging around in my garden tonight for some smaller earthworms. I worry that they might not take food from me though.. is that very common with garters or should they come around in a bit?

    Tonight I observed one of them putting his head underwater and swimming around his water dish.. could he be looking for fish?

  5. #5
    Never shed
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Posts
    29
    Country: United States

    Re: Getting WC baby garters to eat

    Garter Snake Forum - Garter Caresheet

    Here's that list I mentioned. Yeah...they sometimes come around. But I'd be surprised if they refused a worm piece. If you cut the tail off first it wriggles enticingly for a bit. Yeah it could've been looking for a fish, but it could've just gotten a bit of dust or substrate on its face. They seem to do that head in water thing for no real reason sometimes.

  6. #6
    Hi, I'm New Here!
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    11
    Country: United States

    Re: Getting WC baby garters to eat

    So 2/3 ate some worm pieces for me last night! The third (and smallest), looked to be going into shed, so I'll try again tomorrow perhaps.

    In terms of feeding.. I see some saying to separate and others who feed off of plate/bowl and its a free for all.. what's the best option?

    Also.. one of the 3 is developing some REALLY nice colouring. Any idea what he would be? Keep in mind he's still quite young

    IMG_20200916_210026.jpg

  7. #7
    Never shed
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Posts
    29
    Country: United States

    Re: Getting WC baby garters to eat

    Very cool that at least some of them have eaten. I take it you're from California? Because that looks like a pretty little red sided garter. As for the straggler...you should continue to offer food. It will probably eventually accept it. If not you'll have 2 options: setting it free, and force feeding. But we'll talk about that in a few days. Just make sure it stays hydrated. Worms are high in moisture and if (s)he isn't eating, it needs hydration from elsewhere. As for the bowl vs individual feeding...it doesn't matter in your case. The downside to separating them is that handling after feeding can make nervous animals throw up. But that's rare. Personally mine seem to eat better as groups. But that's not always the case. You only have three, so it's easy to keep an eye on them. I use the bowl/lid method, just because it would take all day and 80 containers to separate them. You just have to make sure they don't eat each other. Occasionally when you break up a food fight, the loser will get butt hurt and not eat. But that's also rare. You should be fine either way.
    Last edited by Just CL; 09-17-2020 at 07:41 PM.

  8. #8
    Hi, I'm New Here!
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    11
    Country: United States

    Re: Getting WC baby garters to eat

    I wondered about it being a red sided, but it's head is completely black, and I think they also have red heads yes?

    I'll reoffer chopped worms/tilapia tonight on a lid, and hopefully the little one will eat. At what point do I consider letting him go? I'll happily do so if that's what it takes for him to thrive, but just curious when.

    I'm tempted to grow the colony by another 1-2 snakes - if I can find some. Would it be a problem to introduce new additions to the tank?

  9. #9
    Never shed
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Posts
    29
    Country: United States

    Re: Getting WC baby garters to eat

    If he begins to look really skinny. The skin will look...dehydrated. Sort of like there is a separation between his back and sides. It's quite hard to describe, but you'll know it when you see it. By that point, it will likely be too late. He may not even eat in the wild. Some babies are well developed and strong, and some...not so much. He could unfortunately be one destined not to make it. But don't count him out now, he may still make it. Just wait and see. As for species. Red sided garters do have red heads, sometimes, but not always at birth. Most garters "color up" as they get older. I've even seen red sided garters with little to no red. If you're near Napa it could be a T. s. infernalis x T. s. fitchi hybrid. Or just a normal red sided. It's tough to tell. I wouldn't get any new ones until I was sure those aren't sick, as they could pass something on to your new ones. If they were free, that would suck, but red sideds are often +/- 200$ which would suck more. It could also be a really high red T. Fitchi (valley garter). But I've never seen one with side pattern that high up. But they may exist.

  10. #10
    Hi, I'm New Here!
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    11
    Country: United States

    Re: Getting WC baby garters to eat

    Oh shoot, I forgot to mention that I'm in Bellingham WA. That will likely make a difference in guessing. He had very little red on him when he was caught a week ago, but already he's eaten twice and his colour/size have just exploded. He's so bright now!

    I'll keep an eye on the little guy. If he doesn't eat within the next few days then I might release him. If I added anymore, it would be another WC (as these 3 all were).. so it wouldn't cost anything. However I do see what you mean about waiting to be sure there are no issues first.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •