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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Checkered Garter Snake Setup Steps

Checkered Garter Snake

Experience Level: Beginner

Coiled corn snake

Checkered Garter Snake

Step 1Terrarium

Checkered Garter Snakes originate from North America and require a warm, humid environment. Multiple Checkered Garter Snakes of the same size and sex can be housed together.

Use a (A) 20-gallon (20-30" long) terrarium or larger for a single snake. Use a larger terrarium for multiple pets.
Choose a (B) locking screen lid, if not included with the habitat.

Step 2Decor

  • Use (C) 2" (5 cm) of reptile bark or aspen substrate.
  • Spot clean at least once a week and completely change the substrate at least once a month.
  • Include (D) rocks or branches to elevate your pet close to the heat source for basking (no closer than 8").
  • Add a (E) wood or rock hiding spot on the cool side of the habitat.
  • Provide (F) artificial or live branches and plants for hiding and climbing. Make sure live plants are safe for Checkered Garter Snakes and not treated with any chemicals.
  • Include (G)food and water dishes.
  • Ensure decor is large and stable enough for the size of your reptile.

Habitat for checkered garter snake

Step 3Care

Checkered Garter Snakes require a temperature gradient (cool side/warm side) to properly regulate their body temperature. Temperatures should also vary between daytime and nighttime hours.


  • Equip the habitat with (H) two thermometers (one on each side of the habitat) to measure temperatures and one hygrometer to monitor humidity.
  • Provide heat with a (J) high-wattage basking bulb placed directly above the basking spot, which should be the warmest point in the habitat during the day. Turn the basking bulb off for 12 hours at night.
  • Use a ceramic heat-emitter or nighttime heat bulb as needed to maintain nighttime temperatures.
  • Create and maintain humidity by keeping the water dish full and misting your pet and habitat every other day.
  Target Range
Humidity 30 - 50%
Day-Cool Side 78 - 85° F (24 - 29° C)
Day-Basking Spot 86 - 95° F (30 - 35° C)
Night 65 - 75° F (18 - 24° C)
  • Every reptile requires a 12-hour light/dark cycle.
  • Checkered Garter Snakes are diurnal, meaning they are most active during the day. Provide a (K) UVA/UVB fluorescent bulb* if your snake does not get enough dietary Vitamin D.
  • If desired, use a night-specific bulb to view your pet at night without disturbing their natural behavior.

* Replace UVA/UVB bulbs every 6 months, as bulbs may continue producing light without emitting proper UVB.