A Valley Gartersnake is discovered resting in the sun near the edge of a mountain pond which is still half-surrounded by snow. Three different subspecies of Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes (Thamnophis elegans) inhabit western North America. ), This unusually-colored adult was found eating a California Toad in Lake County. The presence of the black color on the neck unites them. Rossman et al (1996) show the elevation record for the species (not specifically this subspecies) at 8,333 feet (2540 m.). Their body color can range from blue, prominent in Florida blue garter snakes, to the many shades of red visible in West Coast species. Rice fields provide hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat for the species. The picture shows a typical wandering garter snake skin pattern, characterized by the light color stripes. Most of the sixteen garter snake species are recorded in Southwest and Western states. Visitors interested in addition snake identification help are invited to press the green snakes button at the top of the article. A medium-sized snake with a head barely wider than the neck and keeled dorsal scales.
Without seeing the lower portion of the jaw, the Valley garter might be mistaken for other dark headed species.
Aquatic Garter Snakes (Thamnophis atratus atrastas) are a Western specialty with a presence in California and Oregon. Growing up to five feet in length, it ranks as the largest garter snake and one of the longest native snakes regardless of family. Adults of this species measure 18 - 55 inches in length (46 - 140 cm), but the average size is under 36 inches (91 cm). Garter snake identification can also be a fun activity because they are not aggressive snakes and taking the time to look at one means little personal harm to the observer. Valley Garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi), one of a handful of T. sirtalis subspecies, shows a light cream or white color on the lower jaw, followed sometimes with a red spot on the neck. The Eastern Ribbon Snake has a distinct pattern on the body as well as the common stripes.
However there are smaller populations in California, Arizona and New Mexico. This garter snake is commonly found in suburban areas and city parks. When I get too close, the snake races off, showing the speed with which this gartersnake can crawl and swim to safety.
Garter snake identification gets a good deal of attention because they inhabit backyards and multiple grass habitats throughout North America. A Valley Gartersnake is discovered resting in the sun near the edge of a mountain pond which is still half-surrounded by snow. California Gartersnakes Identification Key, Key to Identifying California Gartersnake Species. © 2000 - document.write((new Date()).getFullYear()); Adult with considerable red coloring on the side of the head, Skagit County, Washington ©, In some areas, Valley Gartersnakes overwinter in large groups. When I get too close, the snake races off, showing the speed with which this gartersnake can crawl and swim to safety. ©, Adult with considerable red coloring on the side of the head, Skagit County, Washington ©. Checkered Garter snakes are mostly a Texas species. Utilizes a wide variety of habitats - forests, mixed woodlands, grassland, chaparral, farmlands, often near ponds, marshes, or streams. Whatever the common name, garter snake identification ofen starts by noting the thin and often colorfully striped body. The yellow stripe down the center of its dark back and two yellow stripes along its sides identified it as a garter snake, our most common snake, found around rock … Subspecies have slight color differences. Their propensity to inhabit residential areas explains the common name, garden snake.
Valley Gartersnakes race over land and in water at a high-elevation pond in Siskiyou County. Scientific name: Natricinae We have thousands of exotic reptiles for sale from top breeders from around the world. The black-necked gartersnake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis) is typically described as a Southwest species.
The Northwestern garter snake (Thamnophis ordinoides) are another West Coast specialty with a presence in Washington, Oregon and California. The Valley Gartersnake is brown to black with three yellow stripes: one stripe down the back (dorsal stripes) and one on each side (lateral stripes). ©. ©. A close up picture would show the snake’s eight upper labial scales, typical of all Thamnophis elegans subspecies. It prefers areas with dense vegetation but, when basking, can be found in open areas or on talus slopes. This aberrant Valley Gartersnake was photographed in 2016 in the Sacramento Valley in Sutter County, CA approx.1.5 km from the location where the snake seen above was found. This very unusually-colored aberrant Valley Gartersnake was found in the Sacramento Valley in Sutter County, CA in May, 2017, and other snakes with similar coloring were seen in the same general field location, including the snake seen in photos below left. Bluestrip Garter snakes in Florida live mostly in the Gulf Coast region. Juvenile, coastal San Luis Obispo County, just north of the Santa Barbara County line. Ribbon snakes refers to a group of snakes in the genus Thamnophis, differentiated by the presence of longer tails and a light patch in front of the eye. The red stripe down the middle of the body. This snake is found in meadows and at the edges of clearings in forests. The picture shows a snake with eight upper labial scales. A Valley Gartersnake at a creek in the Plumas County mountains. COSEWIC status: Not Assessed; SARA status: No Status; IUCN status: Least Concern; Description.
Compare Common Garter snakes with the snake in the next picture, the Terrestrial Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans). The remainder of this article provides pictures and identification tips covering many garter snakes. Butler’s Gartersnake (Thamnophis butleri) has a small range, limited to Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio. The ground color is dark gray, black or brown. Mating occurs in the spring (and possibly the fall ) and young are born live, spring to fall. Try browsing the Other Colubrids Index if you're looking for something specific.
It’s hard to misidentify them. When first handled, typical of gartersnakes, this snake often releases cloacal contents and musk, and strikes. In short, the snake in the grass raises people’s curiosity. That particular garter snake identification problem does not apply to the Giant Garter Snake (Thamnophis gigas) pictured at the top of this page. Without seeing the lower portion of the jaw, the Valley garter might be mistaken for other dark headed species. Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America, Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America - Explained, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Data/CNDDB/Plants-and-Animals. For more information, check out How It Works. This unusually-colored adult was found eating a California Toad in Upper Lake, Lake County. Looking at the top of the heads can help to identify these sympatric species on the north coast: Adult Valley Gartersnake eating a Boreal Toad in Trinity County ©, Adult Valley Gartersnake found attempting to eat a non-native leopard frog of unknown species in a suburban backyard in Fresno County. Gartersnakes have toxins in their saliva which can be deadly to their prey and their bite might produce an unpleasant reaction in humans, but they are not considered dangerous to humans. Depending on the source, up to sixteen different species are recognized. It occurs in wooded areas on the floor of the Willamette Valley and has been found in the Rogue Valley. Unlike most garter snakes they have a very pronounced checkered pattern complimenting the stripes. © 2000 - document.write((new Date()).getFullYear()); U.S. Geological Survey photos taken by Alexandria M. Fulton. Ribbon snakes refers to a group of snakes in the genus Thamnophis, differentiated by the presence of longer tails and a light patch in front of the eye. A Resistant Predator and Its Toxic Prey: Persistence of Newt Toxin Leads to Poisonous (Not Venomous) Snakes. Two ribbon snakes, the Western Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis proximus) and the Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus) inhabit North America, each with geographically identified subspecies. 43, 2017 shows this note regarding the species. When I get too close, the snake races off, showing the speed with which this gartersnake can crawl and swim to safety. Here you can see a mass emergence of Valley Gartersnakes and Wandering Gartersnakes in early May, Lincoln County, Wyoming.
Eastern Ribbon Snakes (Thamnophis sauritus) share those same physical features. © Yuri Brezinger, Habitat (with snake bottom left), southern Monterey County. Their range extends from Texas to California along the border. Reptiles & Amphibians, Orange = range of T. s. fitchi Possibly axanthic (missing red pigment) it might also represent an intergrade with, In some areas, Valley Gartersnakes overwinter in large groups.
Like all garter snakes, they have stripes down the body. This wide-ranging subspecies, Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi - Valley Gartersnake, is found throughout all of northern California, including the coast in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, south, east of the north and south coast ranges through the Great Valley and much of the Sierra Nevada (excluding a large part of the interior part of the San Joaquin Valley alley) and east of the Sierra Nevada into the northern part of the … Some neighboring states such as Oklahoma and Ut ah. Looking at the top of the heads can help to identify these sympatric species: A Valley Gartersnake is discovered resting in the sun near the edge of a mountain pond which is still half-surrounded by snow.
The Valley Gartersnake is a subspecies of the Common Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis). It was observed a few miles from the ocean in San Luis Obispo County. Eats a wide variety of prey, including amphibians and their larvae, fish, birds, and their eggs, small mammals, reptiles, earthworms, slugs, and leeches. Adult with faint red markings, San Luis Obispo County ©, This snake looks a lot like a Red-sided Gartersnake except that it has no red coloring on its head. That physical characteristic is usually, but not always sufficient to differentiate it from other species. Garter Snakes for Sale in the United States. (The frog survived, but died later. Valley Garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi), one of a handful of T. sirtalis subspecies, shows a light cream or white color on the lower jaw, followed sometimes with a red spot on the neck. The above picture shows a close up of a Common Garter Snake with numbers from 1-7 printed on the upper labial scales. Current scientific classification recognizes 13 subspecies (ordered by date): Click map to enlarge and see key to other subspecies. The giant garter snake inhabits agricultural wetlands and other waterways such as irrigation and drainage canals, sloughs, ponds, small lakes, low gradient streams, and adjacent uplands in the Central Valley.Most of the snake’s natural habitat has been lost, which is why many giant garter snakes live in rice fields. Stebbins (2003) shows it as, SSAR Herpetological Circular No. The picture shows a Gulf Coast Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis proximus orarius), one of the six different subspecies of the Western Ribbon Snake. Pacific Northwest The Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) in the picture is a rather bland looking species and easy to identify basically because it’s the primary species in most East Coast states. Here you can see a mass emergence of Valley Gartersnakes and Wandering Gartersnakes in early May, Lincoln County, Wyoming. Apart from those with unusual field markings, multiple, similar looking species, occupy overlapping territory in many areas, creating potential identification challenges.