Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A visit to the Narcisse snake dens

I had a journey to make up to Lake Manitoba on the weekend and my good friend Bear joined me for the ride to the res. On the way home we went my Narcisse and were pleasantly surprised to see that the snake dens were open to the public. The red-sided garter snakes in the north spent our long brutal winters underground in limestone caves and many hundreds, even thousands, gather at these denning sites each fall in preparation for their winter sleep. At this time of the year they are emerging from the rocks…

When they emerge the snakes have breeding on their mind and you will see many mating balls where large numbers of the smaller males slither over a female (much larger) in an attempt to be the one who gets to mate. This is just a small mating ball!

Here you can see the males following the larger females as she slides away (she is the one with her head furthest to the right)

Even without a female present they don’t mind a little company it seems!

You can see the size differences well in this image

A couple of close-ups - the second shot shows the forked and bicoloured tongue.

There was other wildlife to see on the day of course – a few shots from the drive include this muskrat on the ice

An adult Bald Eagle on the ice

Marbled Godwits feeding in frosted fields

And Double-crested Cormorant and Great Egret taking off. The Great Egret is near their northernmost breeding colony in North America at Dog Lake…


  1. I guess with all the cold weather we have been having I didn't think that the snakes would be out already.This is fascinating place to visit.

  2. cool! I love snakes!! hopefully the skinks will be out and about next week :)


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