Garter snake (genus Thamnophis) is a non-venomous terrestrial snake called grass snake. Thamnophis are reptiles, and there are more than a dozen species. As the name describes, the garter snake has a striped pattern, and the representative species is characterized by 1 or 3 longitudinal yellow or red stripes on the body, with checkered spots between the stripes.
The characteristics of the scales of various garter snakes vary very little, while the colors of the representative species in each region vary greatly. The garter snake is one of the most common snakes from Canada to Central America. Western girdle snakes are more adapted to aquatic life than eastern ones.
The distribution area of the garter snake coincides with the distribution location of the California salamander. The California salamander is highly venomous, but after a long period of evolution, the garter snake has produced antibodies to pufferfish in its body. The California salamander is also One of the food sources for coastal girdle snakes. Interestingly, according to biologists, the California salamander is also becoming more virulent to resist the infestation of the coastal girdle snake.
Garter Snake General Description
Garter snakes can be kept as pets; they are relatively harmless, although some species possess a mild neurotoxic venom. However, it is not dangerous to humans. Garter snakes come in various colors depending on the species, but most have three longitudinal stripes, one in the center of the back and one on each lower side of the body. The stripes are yellow or green in most species, but this varies with species and region.
Garter Snake Size
Garter snakes are fairly slim-bodied and small to moderate in size, depending on species.
- Adult garter snakes range from 16 to 42 inches in length. Males are usually shorter in length.
- Common garter snakes are around 12 to 23 centimeters at birth.
Habitat And Living Haibit
Common garter snakes are found in nearly all habitats, but most commonly at lower elevations around water. They prefer moist habitats and live in the borders of streams, ponds, and lakes. The garter snakes are non-migratory, they may travel long distances (4 to 17 kilometers) from hibernacula to forage in preferred habitat.
Garter snakes are generally active during the day, and will hibernate in dens in large groups during the winter.Garter snakes live chiefly on insects, earthworms, and amphibians; the western ribbon snake is especially fond of frogs. If threated, they struggle and discharge a foul secretion from the anal gland.
Garter Snake Reproduction
Garter snakes do not lay eggs but generally breed in early spring and give birth in late summer. After mating, females store sperm in their bodies until they want to fertilize their eggs. Females give birth to 6 to 18 live young during summer. According to researches, parent snakes do not care for their young. The average life span in the wild may only be 4-5 years, however, they can live twice as long in captivity.
While most species of garter snake are classified as harmless (non-venomous), their bite can cause minor swelling or itching in humans, and anyone bitten by a garter snake should clean the bite thoroughly. Garter snakes can be kept in rack systems, aquarium, or reptile terrarium style cages. The more space the better as garters are very active and like to climb.