Kaa, the Valley Garter Snake
Kaa came to Splash after many years in captivity. His owner tired of caring for him and tried to sell him to an area pet shop. The shop owner explained that it is not legal in California to sell a native species, and offered to place Kaa with a responsible caretaker.
Garter Snakes are one of the most common snakes we find at Mather Field. With luck and quiet movement, you may see one slithering through the grass as you approach. They are excellent swimmers and are usually found close to a source of water, where they feed on fish, frogs, toads, salamanders, insects, and earthworms. They have to avoid predators such as coyotes, raccoons, birds, and even some other snakes.
During the winter, Garter Snakes hibernate under rocks, rotting logs, and in rodent burrows until they emerge in the spring to mate. Unlike most snakes in our region, female Garter Snakes don’t lay eggs. In mid-summer, they actually give live birth to as many as thirty babies!
Kaa’s favorite food is earthworms. He does not enjoy being handled and, like his wild Garter Snake relatives, releases a stinky musk when he feels threatened.
Kaa is at least 8 years old and is 2 ft long.