Mating season begins for hundreds of snakes at Fort Livingstone
PELLY -- Hundreds of snakes return to the Fort Livingstone historic site for mating season each spring, bringing with them tourists looking to check out the area known as the “Snake Pit.”
Every spring, hundreds of garter snakes slither from the rocks of the “Snake Pit” for mating season, an event that draws in crowds each year.
After a winter of hibernation, the smaller male snakes will emerge in search of a female.
"A whole cluster of males around the hole that the female is coming out of and they'll join the females and actually form a snake ball," explained Clifton Abrahamson.
Clifton and his wife, Sylvia, have been going to the pit for around 60 years.
“It's a unique thing. Everybody doesn't have that opportunity," said Clifton.
According to Clifton, the snakes are drawn to the area because of the rocks and rocky soil, which provide ample places for them to get down below the frost in the winter.
While the historical site commemorates the first seat of government in the country and the first headquarters of the North-West Mounted police, the pit is a big tourist draw.
"Our little town of Pelly is kind of diminishing, but the snakes bring people in," said Sylvia Abrahamson. She and Clifton are both involved with the Fort Pelly-Livingstone Museum.
The Abrahamsons said the area is always busy on Sundays, and while they don't visit as frequently as they used to, they still like to stop by and make sure the snakes are there each year.
"It was a very typical thing for our family to come here Mother's Day, like when the kids were growing up this was our Mother's Day treat," reminisced Sylvia.
The pair said the population of snakes in the pit is low this year compared to previous years, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way.
"It could be there will be more snakes coming out as the weather turns warm because they love the hot weather," said Clifton.
The garter snakes will make their way back to the pit near the end of August before returning to hibernation.
The snakes will be congregating in the area until around the beginning of June. The Abrahamsons advise anyone going to visit to be careful on the roads while keeping an eye out for snakes.