Evidence of Predation on Nestling Birds by Eastern Gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)

William D. Halliday


Diet 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.


Diet; Eastern Gartersnake; Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis; nestling; predation; prey preference; prey selection; Eastern Ontario

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22621/cfn.v130i2.1838

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