15 fun facts about Canadian snakes
Whether you're a snake savant or a citizen scientist, it's the time of year that our slithery friends are out and about. Here are some interesting tidbits about our native snake species to share with your friends:
Blue racer, Pelee Island, Ontario (Photo by Ron Gould/OMNR)
Butler's gartersnake (Photo by Dan Mullen)
Common gartersnake, Manitoulin Island, Ontario (Photo by NCC)
Eastern foxsnake, Ontario (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)
Eastern ribbonsnake (Photo by mncrowley, CC BY-NC 4.0)
Gray ratsnake, Ontario (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)
Eastern hog-nosed snake (Photo by Ben Lowe)
Eastern massassauga, Ontario (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)
Milksnake, Ontario (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)
Northern rubber boa (Photo by Douglas J. Graham, CC BY-NC 4.0)
Red-bellied snake, Ontario (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)
Bullsnake (Photo by arcticparrot, CC BY-NC 4.0)
- In Canada, the blue racer snake is currently only found on Pelee Island.
- The eastern hog-nosed snake plays dead when threatened by writhing around, rolling over and sticking out its tongue.
- Red-back salamanders are the northern ring-necked snake’s favourite meal.
- Though it vibrates its tail when threatened, eastern milksnake is actually a constrictor.
- The smooth greensnake is excellent at camouflaging itself among shrubs and grasses.
- Eastern foxsnakes can both climb trees and swim.
- The common gartersnake is the most widely distributed reptile in Canada.
- The harmless eastern hog-nosed snake mimics cobras and rattlesnakes to ward off threats.
- Gray ratsnake is Canada’s largest species of snake.
- The queen snake is aquatic and non-venomous, and at maturity can reach lengths of 60-90 centimetres.
- Massasauga rattlesnake, Ontario’s only venomous snake, is shy and docile, and avoids human contact whenever possible.
- The eastern foxsnake is globally rare, existing only around the Great Lakes basin in southern Ontario, Michigan and Ohio.
The Atlantic population of eastern ribbonsnake in Nova Scotia is separated by more than 700 kilometres from other populations.
- Bullsnake uses communal dens and nesting sites.
- BC’s northern rubber boa is one of only two species of the boa family living outside the tropics and subtropics.