Red-sided Garter Snake
Scientific Name: Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis
Status: Least Concern
Habitat: Forests, Wetlands
Threats: Habitat Loss
Photographed: July 2020, Hudson Bay Lowlands, Ontario.
Story: This snake is one of Adam Shoalts's most noteworthy discoveries. He found it in 2020 while on a solo expedition deep into North America's largest wetland, the vast Hudson Bay Lowlands. It was an unexpected find, as this was hundreds of kilometres outside the snake's known range. No previous records of red-sided garter snakes in the Hudson Bay Lowlands are known to exist. However, even today the Lowlands remain little explored, and thus new records of flora and fauna from the area are not uncommon. The area's remoteness, difficulty of terrain, and intensity of mosquitoes and blackflies, keep most people away.
Red-sided garter snakes were previously believed to only live in western Canada, but Westaway Explorer-in-Residence Adam Shoalts found one deep in the Hudson Bay Lowlands on an expedition in 2020. It's now believed these snakes always lived in the Lowlands, but due to the area's remoteness, this wasn't documented.
Did you know?
Red-sided garter snakes live farther north than any other reptile in Canada (as far north as the Northwest Territories)
Preys mostly on frogs and leeches
Survives the extreme cold of the winter by hibernating deep underground