The Gordie Howe International Bridge project is taking steps to ensure that wildlife and several species at risk (SAR), plants or animals in danger of extinction, are protected while construction is taking place. To keep wildlife and SAR, in particular snakes such as the Butler’s Gartersnake and the Eastern Foxsnake, from danger, more than 4.3 kilometres of exclusion fencing has been built around the Canadian Port of Entry (POE). This fence prevents wildlife from climbing over or burrowing under the fence. To learn more about the exclusion fence, read our fact sheet and watch our video. The construction site is also inspected regularly to identify any species that have re-entered the fenced area. If necessary, a certified environmental specialist will safely relocate any SAR found. See our Factsheet on the relocation of an Eastern Foxsnake.
The Butler’s Gartersnake is one of the smallest snakes found in Ontario and grows to only 38-51 centimetres in total length. It is brown with three yellow stripes: one down the back and one on each side. The chin and belly of the Butler's Gartersnake are yellowish.
The Eastern Foxsnake is the third-largest snake in Ontario and grows to 91-137 centimetres. Its body is yellow to light brown with large, dark brown blotches down the back and two alternating rows of smaller blotches along the sides. This snake has a reddish-brown head with dark bars around the eyes and a yellow chin. Its belly, which is also yellow, has alternating brown patches.
Butler’s Gartersnakes and Eastern Foxsnakes are harmless and do not bite unless harassed or harmed.
If you see a Butler’s Gartersnake or an Eastern Foxsnake:
- Stay calm. Remember, these snakes are harmless.
- Don’t touch or disturb the snake. You can take a picture if you’d like, but remember to admire from a distance.
- Contact Ontario Nature’s Atlas Program at 1-800-440-2366.