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REPTILES

COMMON GARTER SNAKES

Thamnophis sirtalis

At A Glance

  • IDENTIFICATION: Black, brown, gray, olive body, three stripes, dark spots, round eyes
  • COMMONLY CONFUSED WITH: Ribbon snakes
  • CONSERVATION STATUS: Least Concern - Population Stable
  • DIET:Slugs, earthworms, leeches, lizards, frog eggs and other amphibians, minnows, small rodents, small birds, other snakes, small aquatic animals; ambush prey, immobilizing it with saliva that is toxic to small prey
  • HABITAT: Moist, grassy areas like meadow, woods near wetlands
  • BREEDING: July - October, after a gestation of 2 - 3 months litter of 4 - 80 born live
  • BEHAVIOR: Solitary during active seasons, active during the day, basking in the morning,
  • HIBERNATION: In groups in natural cavities, crawfish and rodent burrows, under rock piles, in stumps
  • THREATS: Fish, bullfrogs, turtles, milk snakes, crows, hawks, great blue herons, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, shrews; parasites, including bacterial, protozoan, viral, and worms; vitamin B1 deficiency; blister disease; mites
  • SPECIAL SKILLS: Paralyzing prey with saliva
  • SEASONS FOR VIEWING IN NORTH LOUISIANA: Spring, Summer, Fall