iN VIDEO: Watch these snakes emerge from winter refuge in South Okanagan - InfoNews

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iN VIDEO: Watch these snakes emerge from winter refuge in South Okanagan

A still from Penticton resident Mitch Guilderson's weekend video documenting snake's emergence from their dens after the winter.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Mitch Guilderson
April 17, 2020 - 7:30 AM

Penticton resident Mitch Guilderson is a big fan of his amphibian and reptile neighbours.

Guilderson and his girlfriend were out on the weekend exploring the local snake habitat and getting some video footage at a time of spring ‘emergence’ for the reptiles.

“It’s one of the most prolific times to see them,” Guilderson says.

He has been interested in the valley’s biodiversity, especially as it concerns reptiles and amphibians, for years. In fact, that’s a major reason for his moving here from his native Nova Scotia.

“I guess you could call it a hobby. I was a single kid in my youth, and grew up in the country. I would be out up to my neck in a pond catching turtles most of the time, and when I went to school I wasn’t interested in what they were teaching, I was interested in what I was learning,” he says.

Guilderson says this past weekend was the first time he’s seen snakes this year. He caught several different kinds on video, including rattlesnakes and garter snakes.

He doesn’t want to disclose where he found them, for fear others will follow and possibly damage the environment or harm the snakes.

“I have spoken with conservation people and researchers in the area. I don’t want to lead people to these hibernating sites,” he says. "They come out of their holes, and you can see the babies in there. Those aren’t from this year, the babies are born later on in the year. Those are from last year."

Guilderson says while advising people to maintain a respectful distance from snakes, he doesn’t see them as a threat.

“To get bitten, you almost have to have been bothering them, or stepped on it and stood there, because they are quick to escape. They don’t want to mess with anyone,” he says. “I’ve seen a lot of snakes and I’ve never seen one come at me."

Mitch Guilderson's video of snakes emerging from winter dens in the South Okanagan last weekend, April 11 and 12, 2020.

— This story was corrected at 11:41 a.m. April 17, 2020, to clarify the snakes were caught on video, not actually captured.

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