Does a ghost town overrun with writhing snakes sound like nightmare fuel or a cool weekend trip? Depending on what kind of person you are, the Manitoba town of Narcisse and its world-renowned snake dens will either terrify or amaze you.
Despite the town not having much more than a couple of abandoned buildings, it’s also home to tens of thousands of garter snakes. Every spring, when the weather is just right and the stars align, something insane happens. Giant sinkholes in the earth might appear to be covered with vegetation at first. Is it… moving? What’s that, wind through the trees? No, that sound comes from thousands and thousands of garter snakes slithering against one another.
Okay, we’re not trying to panic you. These garter snakes aren’t dangerous- in fact, you’re welcome to gently touch and handle them. Although, diving elbow-deep into a pit of snakes to make a new friend might not be enticing to you at all. We wouldn’t blame you.
This is assumed to be the largest grouping of snakes in the world. People come from all over the world to see the Narcisse snake dens, and this is sounding more and more like a dystopian reality as we write it.
So, why the party? Each spring, the snakes come out from their winter resting places into these ‘snake dens’, AKA caverns formed into the water-worn limestone bedrock. Another terrifying fact, ladies: there are 100 male snakes for every female snake in these pits. If you spot giant balls of snakes wrapped around each other, known as a ‘mating ball’, there’s a female in there somewhere. You get the deal.
While late April to early May sees the snakes arrive in the pits, they’re also active in the fall as they retreat back into their winter dens. Regardless of their calendar, we’re just never going to be over the fact that a small ghost town in Manitoba is literally filled with giant pits of snakes.
Are we in a movie?
If you wish to see the Narcisse snake dens in real life, we don’t understand you. Luckily, since all four dens are in a conservation area, you can actually go ahead and observe them yourself. Have fun! We’ll stay at home, safe from 10,000 snakes.