Garter snakes are a common sight in backyards all across North America. Despite their small size, these harmless snakes can still startle and intimidate some people. However, if you’re looking to catch a garter snake for educational purposes or simply want to relocate it away from your home, there are safe and effective ways of doing so. In this article, we will share some tips and tricks on how to catch a garter snake safely and handle it properly. Keep reading to learn more!

Looking to catch a garter snake? Follow these tips and tricks for safely capturing and handling these common backyard snakes. Keep reading!

What is a Garter Snake?

A garter snake is a common type of non-venomous snake that can be found in many parts of North America. They are typically small in size, ranging from 18 to 26 inches in length, and have a distinct pattern of yellow or white stripes running down their body. Garter snakes are very adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats such as forests, grasslands, and even urban areas.

If you have spotted a garter snake in your backyard and are interested in catching it, there are a few things you should know beforehand. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that these snakes are harmless and actually play an important role in controlling pest populations. So if possible, it’s best to leave them be and simply enjoy their presence from a safe distance. However, if you are determined to catch a garter snake, here are some tips on how to do it safely and effectively.

Supplies You Will Need

  • Gloves (optional but recommended)
  • A snake hook or long-handled tongs
  • A clear plastic container with a lid
  • A camera (for identification purposes)
  • Something to cover the container with (e.g. a towel or cloth)

It’s important to note that while garter snakes are harmless, they can still bite if they feel threatened. That’s why it’s recommended to wear gloves when handling them. Additionally, using a snake hook or tongs will give you more control and distance from the snake’s body, reducing the chances of getting bitten.

Catching a Garter Snake

Now that you have all your supplies ready, it’s time to catch a garter snake. Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Approach the snake slowly and carefully. Remember, they are naturally timid and will most likely try to flee when they see you.
  2. If the snake is coiled up or hiding, use your snake hook or tongs to gently prod it out of its hiding spot.
  3. Once the snake is out in the open, use your snake hook or tongs to gently pick it up behind the head. Be very careful not to squeeze or harm the snake.
  4. Transfer the snake into the plastic container with the lid closed. If the snake is too big for the container, you can use a cloth or towel to cover the opening of the container to prevent the snake from escaping.
  5. Take a picture of the snake for identification purposes. This can also come in handy if you plan on releasing the snake back into the wild.

It’s important to handle the snake with care and avoid injuring it. Remember to wash your hands after handling the snake and avoid touching your face or mouth before doing so.

If you encounter a garter snake while gardening or doing other outdoor activities, it’s best to simply leave it alone. They are great for pest control and can even help keep your garden free of unwanted insects and rodents.

What to Do After Catching a Garter Snake

After successfully catching a garter snake, it’s important to handle it properly to ensure its well-being. Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Choose a suitable release location away from human habitation. Garter snakes are territorial, and releasing them in a different area can cause stress and harm to both the released snake and the resident ones.
  2. If you are keeping the snake temporarily for observation or research purposes, make sure to provide a safe and comfortable environment. This can include proper temperature, substrate, and hiding spots. Release the snake back into the wild as soon as possible.
  3. Once you are ready to release the snake, gently open the lid of the container and allow the snake to slither out on its own. Do not forcefully remove the snake or throw it out.
  4. Make sure the release area has suitable habitat for the snake to survive, such as a nearby water source and adequate shelter.

Safety Precautions

While garter snakes are harmless, there are some precautions you should take when handling them:

  • Wear gloves to avoid getting bitten. While garter snakes are not venomous, their bite can still be painful and may cause some minor swelling.
  • Handle the snake gently and avoid squeezing it, as this can cause injury or stress.
  • Keep your face and mouth away from the snake’s head to avoid getting bitten.
  • Do not handle a garter snake if you have any open wounds on your hands.


Catching a garter snake can be a fun and exciting experience, but it’s important to remember that these snakes are wild animals and should be treated with respect. Always prioritize the safety of both yourself and the snake, and if possible, it’s best to simply leave them alone and appreciate them from a distance. By following these tips and precautions, you can safely catch and release a garter snake and gain a better understanding of these fascinating creatures.

In conclusion, catching a garter snake can be a fun and exciting experience, but it is important to do so safely and responsibly. By following the tips and tricks mentioned in this article, you can successfully capture and handle a garter snake without causing harm to yourself or the snake. Remember to always respect these common backyard creatures and release them back into their natural habitat after observing them. Happy snake hunting!

By Kitty Smith

I am a Ohio living blogger with a penchant for all things pretty. You can typically find me roaming around my neighborhood of Long Island with latte in my hand and with an iPhone raised above my head to capture the majesty of it all. I mostly post fashion content to Kitty's Lifestyle and I also post recipes on my cooking blog Kitty's Kitchen Recipes.

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