Butler’s gartersnakes are black with longitudinal yellow striping that is characteristic of gartersnakes; these are small snakes, rarely exceeding a length of 50 centimetres. Butler’s gartersnakes feed on leeches and earthworms, and can be found in open habitats that support seasonal wet areas and marshes.
Habitat modification and the draining of wetlands have threatened the survival of this species. Butler’s gartersnake is endangered both federally and provincially, and is found in fewer than 50 sites in Ontario.
The developers of the Windsor-Essex Parkway have requested a permit under the Endangered Species Act to proceed with this project despite its impact on the rare habitat of the Butler’s gartersnake. The Windsor-Essex Parkway is a highway construction development designed to increase the efficiency of border-bound traffic. This project is part of the Detroit River International Crossing. Ontario Nature opposes the proposed permit as the development site is situated within the Butler’s gartersnake’s habitat, and would result in the loss and isolation of one of the most important areas for the survival and recovery of the species.
Please submit your observations of Butler’s gartersnakes to the new Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas.
To learn more, e-mail John Urquhart, staff ecologist, at email@example.com.