More than 500 snakes are returned to Delta beach

DELTA – The hundreds of snakes rescued from Boundary Bay earlier this month were returned home over the weekend.


On Sunday afternoon, the more than 500 garter snakes were moved from their temporary home at the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. in Burnaby back to their hibernaculum on the dike.


The snakes were unearthed earlier this month as construction crews from SNC-Lavalin were slated to begin repair work on a section of the dike. A group of Beach Grove Elementary School students helped alert the crew to the presence of the snakes by posting signs around the area where the work was taking place.


The Corporation of Delta’s environmental consultant then assessed the situation and a rescue plan was put into place. The plan included removing the snakes and moving them to Wildlife Rescue. The operation took three days and in the end more than 500 snakes had been rescued.


Each snake was examined and placed in a large plastic container with a thick layer of damp wood shavings and a dish of distilled water where they could continue hibernating.The snakes are still in a state of hibernation and were returned to the dike on Sunday to allow then to emerge from hibernation in a familiar location, mate and disperse as usual.


The snakes were tagged prior to their release so that a team of biologists can follow their progress over the next few days and throughout the rest of the year.


"This operation has been a tremendous joint effort and we are pleased that over 95 per cent of the snakes have survived the ordeal and will be returned safely to their home," said Gordon White, acting executive director of Wildlife Rescue. "We applaud Delta and SNC-Lavalin for having a rescue plan in place before they started the work. Human activity can impact wildlife in so many ways but by being proactive, they minimized the disruption caused and ensured that the vast majority of snakes were unharmed."

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