Garter Snake Visit

July 7, 2006

This is a common and abundant species throughout North America. It is the most common of the many species of garter snakes.

Habitat: In arid regions garter snakes stay close to water, and will not be found far from a stream or pond. They live in woodlands, meadows, marshes, hillsides, and along streams and in drainage ditches as well as in uburban, urban locations.

Physical Description: Garter snakes have stripes on their sides or rows of white or yellow checkers, against a darker background. They are 12-23 cm long at birth, and adults range in length from 46 cm to 130 cm. Females are usually larger than males.

Main foods: The snake typically eats earthworms, small frogs and toads including tadpoles, and fish, but sometimes eat small mammals, lizards, or baby birds.

Behavior: The garter snake basks in the sun, using thermoregulation to control its body temperature. To keep warm many garter snakes will sleep together.

Niche: Garter snakes are carnivores, low-level predators, feeding on many small animals and in turn being eaten by other predators higher in the food web. These snakes are one of the few kinds of animals that can eat toads, newts, and other amphibians with strong chemical defenses.

Interactions with other species: The garter snake’s main predators are hawks, crows, raccoons, king and coral snakes. Juvenile snakes are also hunted by adult snakes and frogs.



Last modified: July 16, 2006