Narcisse Wildlife Management Area

Nearby Services and Special Notes

Narcisse is an amazing mass of slithering Red-sided Garter Snakes every spring. It is the largest concentration of snakes in the world! Narcisse has become an international attraction and research site for scientists studying snakes. The 11,880-hectare WMA protects the hibernacula or winter dens for the snakes.

On warm days in early May, the snakes emerge from their dens and begin the courting rituals. As a female surfaces, a group of males will swarm around her, forming a mating ball. You can identify the female as the larger snake that seems to be leading the group. Once mating occurs, the females leave the dens and travel up to 20 kilometres to their summer hunting grounds, where they give birth to live young. Males may remain for a month or two before they too leave for the summer. By mid-June most of the snakes have dispersed from the dens. When the evenings start to cool at the end of August, the snakes make their way back to the dens. By September they have congregated again. You can see them at the den entrances, basking in the sun on warm fall days. As the temperatures drop the snakes move underground, down into the dark caverns carved in the limestone bedrock, where they will safely wait out the frigid winter.

You can visit Narcisse any time of year, but spring and fall are the best time to see the snakes. There is a trail system to take you around to the dens, where there are viewing platforms and interpretive signs to tell you more about the Red-sided Garter Snake. While out on the trail watch for white-tailed deer and the occasional elk, fox or coyote. You might also see Sharp-tailed Grouse, colourful Baltimore Orioles, and hear the songs of Cape May, Connecticut and Orange-crowned Warblers.  

Nearby Services

Gas stations, general stores and restaurants are located in the communities of Teulon, Inwood and Poplarfield once you turn off Highway #7.

Other Places To Visit

A treasure chest of historical, recreational and educational experiences awaits casual travelers and intrepid explorers who venture into Manitoba's Interlake region. Among the gems in the chest are the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, Marine Museum of Manitoba (Selkirk) Inc., Lower Fort Garry, Captain Kennedy House and the other attractions along Red River Road, Hecla Island Provincial Park and Stonewall Quarry Interpretive Centre. Be sure to visit the snake statue in Inwood north of Highway 17.

Special Note - Collecting Snakes

The removal of snakes from the Narcisse Wildlife Management Area is prohibited. If you encounter someone illegally removing snakes from the area, use your discretion in bringing the collection policy to his or her attention. If need be, report the incident to Turn in Poachers (T.I.P.) Program at 945-0086 or 1-800-782-0076.

Don’t Miss:

There are five dens so be sure to walk around the complete trail where you will see interpretive signs at each den. You will find some dens are more active than others.

Habitats:

aspen-oak parkland

Site Specialties:

Red-sided Garter Snakes, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Baltimore Oriole, Cape May Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler

Directions:

From Highway 7, turn west on Highway 17 at Teulon. Look for the Narcisse Snake Dens sign on Highway 17; the snake dens are about 30 kilometres north of the village of Inwood. Turn east at the sign to the parking lot. Near the parking lot there are interpretive signs, washrooms, picnic area and the start of the 3 kilometre trail around the dens.

Latitude & Longitude:

parking lot – 50°44’04N and 97°31’50W

Cautionary Notes:

Garter Snakes are not venomous but they will bite if harassed. It is illegal to harass or remove any snakes. Dogs must be kept on a leash or left in the car.

Admission:

No entrance fee

More about Narcisse WMA:

Site Services

Drinking Water No
Restrooms Yes
Marked Trails Yes
Boardwalk No
Viewing Tower No
Picnic Shelter Yes
Camping No
Concession No
Visitor Centre No
Interpretive Signs/brochures Yes
Primitive Site Yes

For More Information

Additional information about Manitoba's garter snakes is available on the DVD, “The Narcisse Red-sided Garter Snakes.” The DVD is available in both French and English and can be borrowed from Manitoba Sustainable Development Public Information Services, Box 22, 200 Saulteaux Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3J 3W3. For information on the seasonal status of the Narcisse Snakes Dens call 945-6784 or 1-800-214-6497.