Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
msnets
Posts: 5
Joined: September 23rd, 2014, 10:47 am

Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by msnets » February 18th, 2016, 12:00 pm

Does anyone know of any good locations to find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan, specifically in St. Clair and Wayne counties (basically anywhere near the border with Canada)? I'm hoping to get out there in the spring, and I don't have a good notion of where to look.

I would really appreciate any advice!

Tamara D. McConnell
Posts: 2248
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » February 18th, 2016, 4:32 pm

Welcome to the forum!
Probably folks have to know a little bit about you before (or if) they release specific locales. There is an informal vetting process. It is for the animals' protection. Perhaps you could share a bit more about yourself?

msnets
Posts: 5
Joined: September 23rd, 2014, 10:47 am

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by msnets » February 18th, 2016, 7:15 pm

Absolutely, I completely agree that we want to take care.

I gave a background when I joined the forum a while back, but that wasn't public and I've really just been lurking since then. I'm a MSc student in Ontario, studying population ecology of the Butler's garters. They're Endangered/Threatened here (depends who you ask), so I'm hoping to help inform conservation. I've been working with the snakes for the past two field seasons in Ontario, using basic genetic analysis to compare populations. I take a small blood sample, otherwise leaving the snakes unharmed, and release them where I found them.

If there's anything anyone else wants to know about my work, feel free to ask.

Tamara D. McConnell
Posts: 2248
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » February 19th, 2016, 4:04 am

Your studies sound really interesting. Good luck in your search.

User avatar
pjfishpa
Posts: 123
Joined: June 2nd, 2013, 5:51 am
Location: NW Ohio / SE Michigan

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by pjfishpa » February 19th, 2016, 3:53 pm

PM sent.

User avatar
jason folt
Posts: 262
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:20 am
Location: Midwest
Contact:

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by jason folt » February 22nd, 2016, 7:45 pm

Pretty easy to find anywhere along the river and lake. Are you just looking to see them across the border or collecting more data?

Jason

msnets
Posts: 5
Joined: September 23rd, 2014, 10:47 am

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by msnets » February 24th, 2016, 4:54 am

I am looking to collect some data, to compare to the snakes in Ontario. I'm just applying for a Fish & Wildlife permit now, which requires that we disclose prospective locations.

User avatar
Russ_Jones
Posts: 100
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:00 am

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by Russ_Jones » March 9th, 2016, 6:07 pm

msnets wrote:They're Endangered/Threatened here (depends who you ask)
Huh? I would think someone doing research on the species would know their status in the province they are working in, especially with the permitting process involved when handling them here. Posting this inquiry with an alias also comes across as sketchy.

Careful with sharing your locations folks.

Russ

msnets
Posts: 5
Joined: September 23rd, 2014, 10:47 am

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by msnets » March 10th, 2016, 10:38 pm

Russ_Jones wrote:
msnets wrote:They're Endangered/Threatened here (depends who you ask)
Huh? I would think someone doing research on the species would know their status in the province they are working in, especially with the permitting process involved when handling them here. Posting this inquiry with an alias also comes across as sketchy.

Careful with sharing your locations folks.

Russ
Sorry if I wasn't coming across clearly. In Ontario, Thamnophis butleri are listed as Endangered by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) and the Ontario Endangered Species Act. They are listed as Threatened by SARA (Species at Risk Act).

I am fully intending to apply for permits through the proper channels before I attempt any field work in Michigan. However, if anyone does not feel comfortable sharing information on this forum from that assurance alone, please feel free to send me a private message and I can provide you with an email address hosted by my institution.

User avatar
BillMcGighan
Posts: 2308
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Location: Unicoi, TN

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by BillMcGighan » March 11th, 2016, 8:19 am

RJ
I would think someone doing research on the species would know their status in the province they are working in, especially with the permitting process involved when handling them here. Posting this inquiry with an alias also comes across as sketchy.

Careful with sharing your locations folks.
RJ's caution is not without merit.


msnets, giving you the benefit of the doubt that you may be legit as a researcher and may be naïve to the our open forum herp world, please be advised that there are regular folks here, probably very few, that may have nefarious intent for some "protected species" because harvesting them from the wild can be lucrative, albeit short sited.

Most of the commercial collectors that I've met are actually in tune to management, and many limit their harvest even more than their state regs allow, but, of course, folks who take advantage of an easy buck are a reality.

Suggestion for the future:
...Get your permits first.
...Spend more time proving your legitimacy.
...Don't use a ficticious screen name.

msnets
Posts: 5
Joined: September 23rd, 2014, 10:47 am

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by msnets » March 11th, 2016, 1:09 pm

Bill: I do understand the difficulty of developing trust on the internet. I apologize if I was reticent in introducing myself. The grad student in my lab who introduced me to the forum is away in the field at the moment, so I didn't have anyone to confer with on how to broach a topic. My name is Megan Snetsinger, hence my screen name, and I am a graduate student at Queen's University. Dr. Stephen Lougheed is my PI.

In terms of getting permits first, the Michigan permitting process requires that I submit prospective locations before they will issue a permit, hence my request. I was really just interested in general areas, but there doesn't seem to be an equivalent resource to what Ontario has:
http://www.ontarionature.org/protect/sp ... snake.html
Regardless, I have spoken with some colleagues' contacts already, so I have in fact begun the permitting process.

I would also like to clarify that the species is not protected in Michigan, only Ontario.

User avatar
BillMcGighan
Posts: 2308
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Location: Unicoi, TN

Re: Where can I find Butler's Gartersnakes in Michigan?

Post by BillMcGighan » March 11th, 2016, 1:35 pm

Gotcha

I hope some folks here will be helpful.
As a rule when folks here know you're sincere, you'll get lots of good help.

Good luck on your work.

Post Reply