Evidence of Predation on Nestling Birds by Eastern Gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)
Keywords:Diet, Eastern Gartersnake, Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis, nestling, predation, prey preference, prey selection, Eastern Ontario
AbstractDiet is an important aspect of the natural history of all animals, but diet can vary through space and time because of variations in prey availability. The diet of the Common Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis) consists mainly of earthworms and frogs, but other prey items might be important when they are locally abundant. I report an observation of a female Eastern Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) regurgitating 2 nestling birds in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Birds are seldom present in the diet of the Common Gartersnake. This rare food choice highlights the opportunistic nature of foraging by adult Common Gartersnakes and, further, demonstrates that diet depends not only on prey preference, but also on prey availability.
Copyright for Canadian Field-Naturalist content is held by the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club, except for content published by employees of federal government departments, in which case the copyright is held by the Crown. In-copyright content available at the Biodiversity Heritage Library is available for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence. For usage of content at the BHL for purposes other than those allowed under this licence, contact us.
To request use of copyright material, please contact our editor, Dr. Dwayne Lepitzki: editor -at- canadianfieldnaturalist -dot- ca