Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)
Description: Average adult size is 20-28 inches (51-71 cm), record is 48.75 inches (123.8 cm). Adults are greenish with a light tan or gray mid-dorsal stripe. There is an additional light tannish stripe on each side of the body occupying the 2nd and 3rd dorsal scale rows above the belly. There are alternating rows of dark spots on each side between the mid-dorsal and lateral stripes. Light reddish-tan fleckings may also be present. The belly is uniform whitish-green. The scales of the upper lip are outlined with black markings. The scales are keeled, and there are 19 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round.
It is found throughout the eastern US from southern Texas north into Canada and east to the Atlantic Ocean.
The habitat of the garter snake ranges from forests, fields and prairies to streams, wetlands, meadows, marshes and ponds, and it is often found near water. It is a semi-aquatic animal like most snakes. It is found at altitudes from sea level to mountain locations. Their diet consists mainly of amphibians and earthworms, but also fish, small birds,toads and rodents. Garter snakes are effective at catching fish and small to medium tadpoles. Animals that eat the common garter snake include large fish, bull frogs, snapping turtles, milk snakes, hawks, skunks, foxes and domestic cats.
The eastern garter snake is terrestrial and active during the day. It is frequently found along the banks of canals and ditches, and around houses in residential areas. After heavy rains, it is sometimes found at night crossing roads in search of food. It feeds on earthworms, small fishes, frogs, and salamanders.
It is live-bearing. From 6-60 offspring are born from May-July. Newborns are 5-9 inches (12.7-22.8 cm) in length. This species has lived up to 14 years in captivity.
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