Provincial Snake Hibernaculum Survey

In collaboration with Alberta Environment and Parks, ACA completed the final year of a twoyear provincial snake hibernaculum (den) survey initiated in 2018/19. We assessed snake activity at known red-sided garter snake, plains garter snake, and wandering garter snake hibernacula using simple visual encounters surveys. We focussed our work on garter snake hibernaculum records held in the Alberta Fisheries and Wildlife Information Systems database. All crews followed a set of survey instructions to maximize their chance of finding snakes and hibernacula. We conducted surveys during emergence from hibernacula in the spring, prior to their dispersal to summer habitat, and/or during the autumn, prior to their ingress into hibernacula for the winter. In total, we assessed 33 hibernaculum records for potential snake activity, of which 11 (33%) were verified to be active based on the observation of at least one snake. We suspected that two hibernacula (6%) were inactive as a result of habitat loss or other disturbance factors. While we did not observe snake activity at the remaining 20 (61%) sites, there was nothing to indicate that snakes could not still occupy the site, therefore these sites were recorded as unknown status. This project has given the opportunity to interact with landowners and learn the location of new hibernacula as well as the history of previously known ones. In turn, we have been able to provide landowners with additional information on snakes and their habitat needs, with the goal of conserving snakes. The next step is to write a final report on what we have learned and make the results available to the conservation community.


Alberta Environment and Park, Landowners

Annual Summaries

We are working hard to upload all past summaries. If there is a report you would like to see that isn't presently here, please email

Title Year Category
Provincial Snake Hibernaculum Survey 2017-2018 2
Provincial Snake Hibernaculum Survey 2018-2019 2
Provincial Snake Hibernaculum Survey 2019-2020 2