Garter Snake care information:

Feeding:  When you receive your Hissary garter snake it will be accustomed to eating chopped, frozen thawed pinky mice and night crawler earth worms. In the wild garter’s will naturally eat fish, toads, frogs and worms but finding abundant sources of these food items can be difficult and unhealthy for your snake. Please note you should NEVER feed Eisenia, or ‘red wigglers’ to your pet snake, they are toxic to garters and can kill your snake the very first time. You can however find a local source for Night Crawler worms, they are safe and a good way to keep variety in their diet. Fish is another suitable food item and very easy to find at your local market. Frozen salmon, tilapia and tuna are fairly inexpensive frozen and easy to keep on hand. It’s not recommended to solely feed a diet of fish so remember to rotate. If you want to use another fish source make sure you’re choosing one NOT containing Thiaminase, which is harmful over a period of time. You will be tempted at some point to feed your garter a living fish but we suggest not getting into that bad habit. It may be entertaining to watch your creature hunt the fast little fish as it swims for it’s life but living fish carry deadly parasites. In a very short time garters that are fed live fish will often go off of mice desiring only live food which is costly, inconvenient, and unhealthy. The best and most practical food source will always be frozen thawed mice. It is a healthy protein they will always find appealing.

Portion Changes: As your snake grows so will his or her portion size. As babies we feed as much and as often as they can eat, usually every three days. When your snake becomes sexually mature their feeding pattern will change and you’ll introduce larger servings. At that point we like to offer meals once a week, you don’t want to over feed your pet snake. Garters are unlike other snake species who eat every other week or once a month, your snake has a much higher metabolism. Over a period of time if you underfeed you’ll see an overall decline in health, problems with shedding and weight loss.

Problem Feeders: Before we ship any snake from the Hissary we’re confident he or she will be successful eater for our customer. Over time you’ll find that every snake can have a mind of their own even deciding to  not take a meal. This usually happens during fall or winter when the temperature changes, it’s something in their genetic code. In the wild snakes brumate each winter and will go months without eating so do not despair.  Here are some other things to consider: Are you offering a new food item your pet snake is not used to? Does your garter have adequate hiding spaces and substrate? What is the temperature of his or her terrarium? These are all conditions that may affect your snakes ability to feel safe and comfortable. If feeding problems persist please feel free to call the Hissary and we’ll be glad to help trouble shoot. Always remember the health of your snake is important to us, if you see any signs of declining health please don’t wait, take your pet to your veterinarian.

Providing a proper environment: The task of creating the perfect home for your garter is the most important requirement before purchasing your pet snake. You will need to provide a steady temperature, hiding spaces, water source, and security to prevent escape. This does not have to be expensive but don’t skimp, you want the world you create for your garter to be believable for your pet. For your baby garter you will start with a terrarium or aquarium that’s no larger than five gallons. Make sure your enclosure has a tight fitting secure lid or doors. Your snake, no matter what it tells you, will spend it’s entire life trying to escape from you. The enviorment your create will need to maintain a temperature of between 75-85 degree’s. If your snake is too cold it will become sluggish and will have a harder time digesting a meal.  A regurgitated meal is a sign you need to check your temperatures. We use under tank heating pads but other may prefer overhead heat lamps. No matter which you choose make sure to test run your enclosure before adding your snake. This will ensure a pleasant experience when introducing your reptile. There are many options when choosing a substrate and endless opinions.