Welcome to the Predatory Thursday. In the world, there are over 3000 species of snakes and 200 species of snakes are identified to be non-venomous or cause slight harm to humans. Among those species, we are here to share with you about the Garter snake scientifically known as Thamnophis Sirtalis, which are found in the southeast and North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. This is a popular species of snake because the population of the Garter snake is estimated to be over 1 million adult snakes in the wild.
Facts on Garter snakes?
The garter snake, which is also known as grass snake is harmless and as they are also pets for many it is known as garden snakes. Garter snakes are non-venomous with striped patterns in their appearance. The snakes are distinguished with 3 yellow to red strips that vary with the regions and different species. Some are with light strips with the colors of grayish or reddish in their body. The different species have slight differences in scales but they have a considerable color difference depending on the geographic locations.
Common garter snake, checkered garter snake, Texas garter snakes, red-sided garter snake, and San Francisco garter snake. Among them, most species have tongues with two colors. They are small to moderate in sizes and in lengths of 18 to 26 inches (45.7 to 66 cm) and sometimes change up to the inch of 49. The gender of Garter snakes can be distinguished where males have longer and thicker tails than females.
These snakes live in meadows, woodlands, hillsides and found in the water edges of ponds, lakes, and streams. And most prefer a moist and grassy environment. They are fast-moving and some species are fast swimmers, traveling long distances from any water, and some can climb shrubs and vines. Most of these species of snakes are active day and night throughout the year, and in the cold climate garter snakes hibernate in the dens during the winter and more than 100 snakes will be found together.
During the hibernation and gathering together, the snakes will easily pair with the opposite sex for reproduction and the snakes living in temperate areas rely on the secretion of pheromones given by the female garter snakes to attract the females. They are viviparous which means they give birth to live young and the females will store the sperms until the eggs are fertilized and it will give birth to more than 20 to 40 snakes and sometimes it gets extended to 50.
The garter snakes feed on snapping turtles, frogs, toads, worms, squirrels, and raccoons. Mostly earthworms and other pests are controlled by the garter snakes that damage the garden plants. They get their prey by disabling them with their sharp teeth and quick reflexes. Some paralysis using its mild neurotoxins in their saliva and swallows it. While other large species kill it by dragging and chewing causing a physical injury.
Although these snakes are non-venomous, it causes minor swelling and itching in humans. Therefore when getting bitten, it is important to clean it thoroughly. As their population is larger, they are the least concerned.