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Wildlife Branch


What's Happening at the Dens

Snakes of Narcisse Update:

The snake emergence has commenced. Activity is low right now, but the forecast of warmer temperatures and lots of sunshine over the next two weeks, will likely result in a peak of activity around the middle of May.

Updated: April 26, 2016

May 6, 2015 - Peak of Snake Emergence has Almost Arrived

April 30, 2015 - How to Handle a Snake

April 30, 2015 - Snake Emergence Begins

Every spring, the Narcisse Snake Dens are alive with tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes as they slither to the surface from their winter dens. These snakes are ready to begin their annual mating ritual. This spectacular ritual lasts for a one to three week period in late April or early May, depending on weather conditions. The male snakes are usually first to surface and they wait patiently for the females to come out. As the larger females surface, the male snakes are eager to mate with them.

This eagerness is displayed in a “mating ball”, where one female is surrounded by up to one hundred males. There are four active snake dens at the Narcisse Snake Dens. The dens are connected by a 3.0 kilometre self-guiding interpretive trail. Although the garter snakes are harmless, they are best viewed from the observation platforms built next to the dens.

To get to the snake dens just look for the signs on Highway #17, 6 kilometres(3.6 miles) north of Narcisse.  Turn east at the entrance sign and follow the short road to the parking lot.  Here you will find orientation signs, washrooms and a 3 kilometre (1.8 mile) walking trail.  It’s a good idea to bring refreshments and a lunch as there is no food or beverage service on site.

More information and maps are available, as well as some facts about red-sided garter snakes in Manitoba.