Garter snake playing dead

Asked April 5, 2020, 8:53 PM EDT

Just found a little guy, he was fine when being handled he escaped my hands and dropped onto the sidewalk ( give or take 3-4 feet) not aure if its dead or playing dead?

Outside United States

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. A fall of that distance should not be fatal. Gartersnakes are one of the species of snake that can pretend to be dead, if they feel threatened. A sure way to verify this is to check the area where you dropped the snake to see if it's still there. If a snake is playing dead, it will crawl away once it no longer feels threatened.

I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.


Hey jim thanks for the answer, my fiance wanted to take the little guy home, after we picked him up he was moving just fine till he crawled into her pockets and didnt move whats so ever. how long do these snakes play dead for?

It depends on how long they feel threatened. Once the snake gets used to you, it will become more relaxed and will not exhibit this behavior.