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Tim Reid, Natural Resources and Built Environment student, waking up a hibernating snake. Photo credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
Tim Reid, Natural Resources and Built Environment student, waking up a hibernating snake. Photo credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Salthaven West save 250 snakes


School of Natural Resources and Built Environment students and Salthaven West release Plains garter snakes


May 2, 2015 - Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Centre West released 250 rescued snakes at the Condie Nature Refuge this afternoon. These snakes were rescued from a Regina house beginning in late November.

Three Saskatchewan Polytechnic students over-wintered and cared for 99 of the Plains garter snakes. Salthaven West kept 150 snakes awake and fed over the winter months but did not hibernate the snakes. 

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime animal husbandry project for our students," says Joanne Marchand, School of Natural Resources and Built Environment. "To the best of our knowledge this is one of the largest artificially induced hibernation projects for a captive snake population in Canada. Working with Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation experts, our students and faculty helped rescue 99 snakes in late November, cared for them in artificial hibernation chambers and released 99 healthy snakes today."

The snakes were kept in six hibernation chambers designed by Saskatchewan Polytechnic's Natural Resource Technology program. Each chamber contained wood shavings and an open bowl of water for hydration. The snakes' hibernation chambers were stored in a walk-in refrigerator. Students checked on the snakes daily, monitoring their weight, temperature and humidity.

"Without intervention from Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Salthaven West, these snakes would have perished," says Megan Lawrence, Salthaven director of rehabilitation. "It is very rewarding to see the snakes released back into the wild and to work with students who are excited about environmental stewardship and sustainability."

Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation West is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to treating and caring for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in Saskatchewan and returning healthy animals back into their natural habitat.

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Photos for media use.
Photo credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

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