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Plains Gartersnake
Thamnophis radix






This snake has a thick dorsal stripe that runs down the center of the back from head to tail. It can be yellow to reddish-orange. It has a thinner yellow stripe on either side of the main dorsal stripe, with a black checkered pattern between the stripes. This is how it got the name "garter." The labial scales above the mouth often have dark black vertical lines among pale scales. It has keeled scales, the belly is plain, and the anal plate is single.

Adults 20 - 36 inches (51 - 91 cm)

Frogs, salamanders, earthworms, and small rodents

Mates in spring and gives birth to 5 - 75 babies anywhere from July to September

Found in many habitats, but typically near a water source - damp woodlands, meadows, marshes, farms, and wooded parks

Other Information:
The gartersnake is the most widely distributed snake across North America, and while its coloration is highly variable, the back and side stripes are very distinct and well defined. When first captured, the garter is often quick to bite and expel musk on its attacker, however, they quickly calm down after a few minutes of handling.

This snake is commonly called "garden snake," "gardener snake," or even "grass snake" by many. Our guess is that the first two names originated due to people hearing the word "garter" incorrectly.


Why doesn't the range map show this species in my county?

Range Map:

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