The Atotonilco Garter Snake is new to the hobby and isn’t found in many reptile keeper’s collections. This heavily built species reaches a length between 3-3.5ft.
|Lifespan||Up to 20 years|
|Temperament||Docile but can be skitty|
The Atotonilco Garter Snake or Diluvial Garter Snake as it is also known, is a subspecies of the Mexican Garter Snake. They are heavily built and reach a large size of 90-110cm (3-3.5ft), females become larger than males.
They are brown to olive-green in colour with three defined stripes running from behind the head all the way to the tip of the tail. The dorsal stripe can vary from a yellow to orange, the lateral stripes (side stripes) can be greenish to white. While young, babies tend to have small white flecks on their sides.
Atotonilco Garter Snakes live around the water’s edge of large lakes in Mexico; the main locations are lake Cajititlan and lake Atotonilco. They can be found basking in the warm sun or hiding under objects and logs.
The Atotonilco Garter Snake requires a minimum enclosure size of 3ft, however, 4ft is ideal. They can be kept in a dry vivarium if they have a large water bowl to fully emerge themselves in. Another option is to keep them in a semi-aquatic bio-active setup. This would require a land and water area with live plants and running water; personally, we believe this is the way forward for many species now.
They require a basking area of 32-35C (90-95F) during the peak warm months of March-October, November-February can be reduced to 28-30C (82-86F). Night time drops should be lowered to 18-20C (64.5-68F) during the warmer months then 8-14C (46.5-57F) in the cooler months. They do not require a full hibernation for breeding, lowering the day/night temperatures during the cooler period should be enough to stimulate breeding for the following year.
Another important factor for breeding may be the average rainfall. During May-October this has the highest amount, therefore regular misting would be recommended, whereas the remaining months seem to be dry.
Regarding food, the Atotonilco Garter Snakes has a big appetite. Being mainly an aquatic species they prefer fish, however, will take young rodents too. When feeding fish, (smelt, trout filets or other freshwater fish) it has been advised to place Vitamin B1 droplets on every feed, this is to prevent Thiaminase, a Vitamin B1 deficiency. Multivitamins like Nekton Rep, are only offered in low quantities once every 4-8 weeks, no other supplements are added.
Garter Snakes have a higher metabolism compared to other species of snakes, therefore require feeding more frequently. Feed every 3-5 days on appropriately sized foods and as much as they will eat in one sitting. If keeping in a dry vivarium, ensure fresh water is always provided and replaced if soiled.