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Garden fauna

By Laurena Mayne Davis

Gardens support an abundance of obvious flora, but on close inspection there is a thriving world of fauna, too.

I saw this one morning, stuck to the corn rower, next to the chicken pen by the garden.


 

The shed snakeskin easily was 2 feet long — longer than most of the garter snakes I see skittering about. Curious, I went looking for information about my mysterious garden visitor.

The Colorado State University Extension Service offers guidance on “Coping With Snakes” both poisonous and non-poisonous. Because garter snakes eat insects, slugs and mice, I’m happy to have them around, and find “coping” with them quite easy, although I’d like them to leave the garden worms, frogs and toads alone.

The Colorado Herpetological Society provides more useful information, including the fact that what I generically refer to as garter snakes are probably blackneck garter snakes or western terrestrial garter snakes.

Although the snakeskin I found was longer than most of the garter snakes I’ve spotted, either of the above species can grow up to 42 inches long, according the Colorado Herpetological Society.

There’s one exception to the live food that garter snakes typically eat. They will sometimes eat eggs, which could explain the location of that snakeskin and what I thought was slackening egg production on the part of my hens.

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