Nearly 500 garter snakes woken from hibernation in Delta

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Staff at the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. will be sharing their shelter space with approximately 500 garter snakes in the coming weeks.

Earlier this week, the snakes were found at a dike repair site in Delta having been apparently woken up from hibernation by construction crews. They were found massed together in a giant ball to prevent from freezing to death during the winter.

Government biologists thoroughly examine the snakes and delivered them in tubs to the Burnaby rescue centre.

Rescue workers are now working to continue their hibernation until early-April when it is warm enough for them to be released. The snakes will be brought to the site of where they were found.

Until then, they will be kept cool at the shelter with a supply of water. No food will be provided.

“All of the snakes were examined and are being housed in groups of 20 in plastic tubs with damp woodshaving and a dish of distilled water,” reads a statement on the WRA’s Facebook page. “Most of the snakes are healthy, but about a dozen are being treated for their injuries.”

Contrary to popular belief, recent studies have found that garter snakes carry a very mild but non-lethal venom that will stun their small prey. They are not deemed dangerous to humans and will only bite when provoked.

Within Metro Vancouver, they are commonly found in fields, grasslands and wetlands, including Sea Island (Vancouver International Airport), Iona Island, the southern shores of Pacific Spirit Park along the Fraser River, and areas used for agriculture in the south of Fraser.

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Image: Wildlife Rescue Association of BC

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Image: Wildlife Rescue Association of BC

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Image: Wildlife Rescue Association of BC

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Image: Wildlife Rescue Association of BC

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Image: Wildlife Rescue Association of BC

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Image: Wildlife Rescue Association of BC

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