How to Care for Your Garter Snake Pet: A Beginner’s Guide - Snake

How to Care for Your Garter Snake Pet: A Beginner’s Guide


Garter snakes are popular pet snakes due to their small size, docile temperament, and ease of care. They are perfect for beginners who are looking to start keeping snakes as pets. However, proper care is essential to keep your garter snake healthy and happy. Here’s a beginner’s guide to caring for your garter snake pet.


Garter snakes are relatively small and can be housed comfortably in a 10-gallon tank as hatchlings and up to a 20-gallon tank as adults. The enclosure should have a secure lid to prevent escapes. A layer of substrate, such as aspen shavings or coconut husk bedding, should be placed on the tank bottom. Add hiding spots, such as cardboard boxes or plastic containers, so that the snake can retreat in times of stress or when they want to feel secure.


Garter snakes are cold-blooded and require a temperature gradient in their enclosure. A basking spot should be provided with a heat source such as a heat mat or a basking bulb. The basking spot should be 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the cool end of the enclosure should be in the range of 70-75 degrees. Use a digital thermometer to monitor the temperature in the enclosure, and adjust the heat source as needed.


Garter snakes require a moderate level of humidity in their enclosure to aid in shedding. The humidity level should be around 50%-60%, which can be achieved by misting the enclosure, providing a water bowl, and using a substrate that can retain some moisture.


Garter snakes are carnivores and require a diet of live or frozen, thawed rodents such as mice or small rats. Hatchlings should be fed every 3-4 days, and adult garter snakes can be fed once or twice a week. Offer prey that is approximately the same size as the snake’s diameter and always feed outside the enclosure to avoid stress and developing unwanted feeding behavior. Remove any uneaten prey after 15-20 minutes to prevent it from disturbing the snake’s digestive system.


Garter snakes are generally docile and make great pets handling. However, they can be fast and squirmish and may musk or bite as a defense mechanism. Always pick up and handle your snake gently and support its body, as they can easily become injured or stressed. Avoid handling your snake for at least two days after feeding to allow them to digest properly.


Regular health checks are essential to maintain the well-being of your garter snake. Look out for signs of illness such as lethargy, lack of appetite, abnormal behavior, and changes in feces. Regularly clean the enclosure to prevent the buildup of bacteria, dirt and to remove any feces or uneaten prey.

In conclusion, keeping a garter snake as a pet is relatively easy and straightforward. Providing a proper enclosure, appropriate temperatures, humidity levels, feeding, handling, and regular health checks can help ensure a happy and healthy life for your pet garter snake.

Like it? Share with your friends!



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube and Vimeo Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format