eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS: This is the only gartersnake throughout most

of its range with lateral stripes confined to rows 2 and 3. There are

normally 3 yellowish stripes, but they may be brownish, greenish, or

bluish. There is usually a double row of alternating back spots between

stripes. Occasionally, specimens are virtually stripeless. The belly is

greenish or yellowish, with 2 rows of indistinct back spots partially

hidden under the overlapping portions of the ventrals. This species is

from 5-48 inches long. Juveniles are pattered as adults, but are brown

on the back and whitish on the belly, and usually exhibit the checker-

board pattern of squarish black or dark brown and green blotches. The

dorsal pattern darkens with age. This snake will mate on the first warm

day after their emergence in spring. The young are born alive in late

July or early August. They have 7-10 young/litter, which are 5-9 inches

long at birth.

 

DISTRIBUTION: Eastern garter snake occurs statewide in Virginia, with
the exception of the barrier islands. It is most abundant in mountains. This
species needs caves for hibernation throughout the winter. Eastern garter-

snakes are terrestrial and can be found in many types of habitats. These

include hardwood and pine forests, lowland and upland grasslands and balds,

abandoned fields in various stages of succession, along the margins of creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes, agricultural and urban areas, and freshwater marshes.

It is sometimes found in suburban gardens and around barns and houses.

Water is not a requirement, but moist areas are usually present or nearby.

 

FOODS: This snake eats earthworms, millipedes, spiders, various insects,

salamanders, frogs, and toads.

 

 

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