Watch hundreds of garter snakes slither back to the plains

The "snakes on the plains" saga came to an end this weekend when about 250 snakes were released at Condie Nature Refuge.

About 250 garter snakes were released on Saturday after invading a home near Regina last fall

Snakes released into the wild

8 years ago
Duration 0:35
Snakes released into the wild

The "snakes on the plains" saga appears to have come to an end.

Students from the Saskatchewan Polytechnic school joined the Salthaven West Rehabilitation Centre's director, Megan Lawrence, in releasing about 250 slithering creatures into the grass at Condie Nature Refuge. The refuge is located a few kilometres northwest of Regina.

All of the snakes came from a Saskatchewan farm house, where a total of 310 were removed last fall. Some of them were previously released at the nature reserve, while the remainder were taken care of over the winter at Salthaven as well as the Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus in Prince Albert.

Students at Saskatchewan Polytechnic had the opportunity to study the snakes, which were kept in a simulated hibernation inside a walk-in fridge. Hamilton Greenwood, who supervised the hibernation, said he was impressed at how alert the animals were at their release.

"Astoundingly so," he said. "And the whole way down here we kept hearing them rustling around the back seats in their respective boxes, so we're happy to let them go."

The 116 snakes kept at Salthaven West were fed every seven to 10 days. Director Megan Lawrence says they're not as high-maintenance as some of the other injured animals they take in, but it's still nice to see them go. 

"It's a great feeling. One, I like to see them back in the wild where they belong. And two, it just saves a lot of time, money and space for us at the clinic," Lawrence said shortly after releasing the snakes. "We were feeding them minnows and earthworms. And then along with that we were cleaning them every few days and they were kept in eight separate terrariums, so it was a lot of work to keep them fed and cleaned."

Watch the raw video footage and flip through the photo gallery above to see the snakes sliding into the tall grass at Condie.

CBC also used the Periscope app to stream live video of the event.