or we have just never spotted one before, as we don’t use chemicals and we practice low till and in some cases no till methods on the farm as well as green crops and a few area’s that we rotate cutting but otherwise leave natural, we have lots and lots of helpers in our gardens and farm, we have tons of toads, tend to have a garden snake or two, and at the right time of the year, the praying Mante’s appear in numbers with itty bitty babies arriving by the dozens.
But this little guy is new to us, as in we had not seen one before, it was sleeping under the tarp out by the feeder and when our newest hay bales arrived, we scared it when we picked up the tarp to cover the tops of the bale, that’s why its little red belly is showing, while it looks like we got really close to it, it was zoom, given its top color, I think it would be very hard to spot otherwise.
Red-bellied snakes are generally found in forest edge habitat, fields and meadows with abundant ground cover, such as logs, rocks, scrap piles and building foundations. These snakes rarely occur in regions with little forest cover. Like most other snakes in Ontario, these snakes overwinter underground below the frost line. They have small home ranges, and over the entire summer an individual may move no more than 500 metres from its hibernation site.
Red-bellied snakes breed in the spring or sometimes in the fall. Females incubate the fertilized eggs internally and give birth to four to 14 live young in late summer. The newborn snakes are seven to 10 centimetres in length and mature in two years.
Red-bellied snakes are nocturnal. They eat invertebrates such as slugs, earthworms, snails, grubs and insects, which eat plants and vegetables in gardens. These snakes help to control populations of these garden pests. Red-bellied snakes rarely bite and have very tiny, ineffective teeth. However, this species will threaten potential predators by exposing its bright red belly or flattening itself and curling the edges of its mouth outward.”
The fact that it lives in such a small area, gives me hope that maybe I will have a couple of these and maybe I will get lucky and end up with a breeding pair, they sound like they would be great little garden snakes to have around doing their thing.