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Garter Snake Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Thamnophis sirtalis
  • Class

    Reptiles
  • Order

    Serpentes
  • Range

    Garter snakes can be found throughout much of North America, ranging from Canada to the Gulf Coast and parts of California. They don't occupy the dry American Southwest.

  • Habitat

    Highly adaptable, the garter snake makes its home in a variety of settings, including woods, marshes, grasslands and even suburban and urban areas. They prefer moist areas, including habitats around ponds and streams.

  • Niche

    These snakes feed on small prey, such as insects, worms, amphibians, snails and small fish. In turn, they are eaten by large birds, fish and a range of mammals, including raccoons, squirrels and foxes.

  • Life History

    Garter snakes are dependent on ambient heat to fuel their activity. In colder climates, they retreat to burrows to hibernate throughout winter. Males attempt to breed with females as they emerge from their burrows in spring. Each female gives birth to 10¬-40 live snakes, which are immediately independent.

  • Special Adaptations

    Garter snakes seem unaffected by the toxic secretions of toads, enabling them to prey on these amphibians.

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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 Get Map/Directions Call 312-742-2000

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