An update on my last post on this subject. Hibernation is now officially under way: the two black pines went down yesterday. Last Thursday I finally found some low and wide 28 L Rubbermaid containers that were perfect for the task. It remained to melt holes in the sides with a soldering iron, add aspen and a water dish, and clip the lid down (it has locking handles, but I take no chances: we used a dozen clips apiece). Right now it’s 14°C in the hibernation area (about four feet away from where I’m sitting), a good temperature. We’ll check on them periodically, but otherwise they’re out of sight, out of mind until early March or so.
Meanwhile, the recalcitrant checkered garter did eat strips of fish fillet — our usual standby, ocean perch — on Saturday, as expected (see my section on problem feeders). Only to puke them back up again yesterday. For a while it looked like she was about to die on the spot, but she’s still with us this morning. Regurgitation in and of itself is not necessarily a problem, nor is it necessarily symptomatic of something more serious, but we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this one.
We’d gotten the two checkered garters as insurance: they looked awfully small when we got them, and I wasn’t sure they’d survive. I thought that a year later they’d be over the hump, and I actually seriously considered offering this one for sale. Good thing we waited.