NatureNorth's - Narcisse Snake Dens, FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Where are the snake dens?
Answer: See the map below.
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Is there a fee to enter or park at the Narcisse Snake Den site?
Answer: No.

Are there time or date restrictions on when I can visit the den sites?
Answer: No, the site is open year-round.

What is the best time of year to visit?
Answer: In most years the middle of May tends to be the best time to view the spring emergence, but weather conditions each year can result in the best viewing being from late April to late May. That's why it's important to check our updates regularly. Fall viewing of the returning snakes can be good in mid to late September.

What is the best time of day to visit?
Answer: The snakes don't usually get very active until mid-morning, so late morning through the afternoon is the best time of day to visit.

Do weather conditions matter?
Answer: Yes, very much so. Sunny, warm days are best for viewing snakes. On cold or rainy days the snakes will not be very active.

How long does it take to get there?
Answer: From Winnipeg it is just over an hour's drive. From Brandon it would take you nearly 3 hours to get there. From Gimli it's only about a half-hour drive. Of course, it will vary with your starting location.

Is there cell phone coverage at the dens?
Answer: No, you'll have to be "unplugged" during your visit. The nearest pay phone is located next to Rosie’s Cafe in Inwood or at the King Buck Inn in Poplarfield.

Will there be interpreters on site?
Answer: Yes, interpreters are on site 7 days a week from the start of the emergence until after the May long weekend. In addition, members from the Manitoba Herpetocultural Society will be helping on weekends. They will be wearing Narcisse volunteer t-shirts to identify themselves. Typically interpreters are on site until 5:00 pm on weekdays and 6:00 pm on weekends. (No interpreters are on site during the autumn return to the dens.)

Can groups arrange to have an interpreter accompany them?
Answer: Interpreters roam the site and are available to answer the public’s questions and provide directions. Any requests for special group tours of the site should be directed to: Michael Maksymchuk, Central Region Manager, Wildlife Branch (204) 915-5958.

Is the site suitable for young children?
Answer: Yes, depending on how much you want to carry them! The walking is easy, no hills, but the trails are 3 km long. Strollers will roll easily on the gravel pathways. Young children should be closely supervised if they are handling snakes, for the safety of the snakes!

Will I need rubber boots?
Answer: Some years the trails can have wet spots here and there, but most years things are pretty dry. If it's been a very wet spring take some boots just in case.

Can I bring my dog?
Answer: Yes, but please keep dogs on leash so they don't bother the snakes or other people visiting the dens.

Can I bring my bike to ride on the trails?
Answer: No, Manitoba Conservation doesn't want people riding bikes on the trails. With people walking on the narrow trails and slow-moving snakes crossing the trails bikes aren't a good idea. Slow-moving means of transportation, such as strollers, wheel chairs, small wagons, and personal mobility scooters are allowed.

Is there drinking water available at the dens?
Answer: No, there is a water pump near the parking lot, but the water is not drinkable. Be sure to bring your own water.

Can I buy food at the den site?
Answer: No, there are no concessions at the site, but there are restaurants in Teulon and Inwood, and general stores and gas stations in Teulon, Inwood, Narcisse and Poplarfield.

Are there washroom facilities?
Answer: Yes, but they are primitive, just outhouses/privies. (It's not a bad idea to bring your own toilet paper just in case.) Some of the outhouses are wheel chair accessible.

Are the trails OK for wheel chairs or strollers?
Answer: Yes, the trails are well-packed, crushed limestone suitable for wheel chairs or strollers. (Of course, be aware of recent weather conditions! Heavy rains of overland flooding may make trails difficult or unusable.)

How long are the trails to all the dens?
Answer: There is a total of about 3 km of trails. The closest den is only about 300 m from the parking lot. Take our Virtual Tour to see what to expect on the trails.

Can I pick up a snake?
Answer: Yes, you can handle snakes as long as you are gentle with them.

Do the snakes bite?
Answer: A snake may bite if you try to pick it up (it's just defending itself!), but they are NOT POISONOUS and have tiny teeth that probably won't break your skin.

What is that bad smell on my hands?
Answer: If you pick up a snake it may poop on you! That is their method of defense. The smell may linger on you for some time, so consider that before you pick up any snakes.

Why are there some dead snakes around with their bellies ripped open?
Answer: Crows and other birds often kill snakes, but they usually only tear out the snake's liver to eat and leave the rest.

What else is there to do at the dens besides look for snakes?
Answer: The den site is a great place for bird-watching, so bring your binoculars. Also, keep your eyes peeled for early wildflowers such as the Prairie Crocus, Prairie Buttercup or Three-flowered Avens. On your way to or from the dens stop in the town of Inwood to see the giant Garter Snake statue! Make a day of it in Manitoba's Interlake.

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