ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Pets and Animals»
  • Reptiles & Amphibians

A Hillbilly Guide to Snakes: The Western Terrestrial Garter Snake

Updated on July 19, 2012
A western terrestrial garter snake.  Photo by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
A western terrestrial garter snake. Photo by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Thamnophis Elegans... The Western Terrestrial Garter Snake.


Also refereed to as a wandering garter snake, the western terrestrial garter snake is one of the many subspecies of garter snakes found throughout the United States. There are an additional 7 subspecies of the western terrestrial garter snake.

Appearance


As I understand it, garter snakes of various species can be extremely difficult to tell apart even for the professionals. The western terrestrial garter snake is no exception. It comes in a large variety of colors and can look almost identical to other species of garter snakes. Similar to some other species of garter snakes, the western terrestrial garter snake has a solid stripe running all the way down the middle of it's back. It has two additional stripes running down it's side that will be the same color. The color of the three stripes can vary from a white or cream color to a brighter orange or yellow. They can also have sort of checkered spots in between the stripes that can be red, black, or greyish.

Like other garter snakes, the western terrestrial garter snake isn't very big. Adults generally range between 18 and 42 inches.

Western terrestrial garter snake.
Western terrestrial garter snake.

Habitat


Generally speaking, western terrestrial garter snakes can be found near a water source. This isn't always true however. As with most snakes, the wandering snake can be found in places that they can hide and find food, they just prefer that place have water.

Western terrestrial garter snakes range from the middle of the United States to the west coast. As far south as Mexico and as far North as Alaska and Canada.

Food


The western terrestrial garter snake is not picky about it's food and will eat pretty much anything. Like many snakes they will eat rodents, amphibians, insects, and other reptiles. They will even eat slugs and leeches... Yum!

For a long it was believed that garter snakes were nonvenomous, but recently people have begin to think otherwise. It turns out that all garter snakes contain a very small amount of neurotoxin they use to subdue and weaken their prey. The venom is in such a small amount that it isn't likely to affect a human being, and they don't use the same as other snakes. Most of the snakes that we think of as venomous have large fangs in the front of their mouth to deliver venom. Garter snakes deliver venom from teeth at the back of their mouth so that it injects in their prey while they are chomping on them. It would be very hard for a garter snake striking in defense to sink it's back teeth in to a person to deliver their trace amounts of venom.

Interactions with humans


When a western terrestrial garter snake comes in contact with danger, it will attempt to flee to water if there is some nearby. Even if there isn't water they will generally attempt to flee, and I can tell you first hand that they are generally pretty quick. If cornered it is possible that they may attempt to bite, or they might not. As mentioned above if they do bite it's not likely to cause much harm.

A close up view of a garter snake's mouth. If you look closely you can see the tiny rear teeth.   Christian.cantrell at en.wikipedia,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
A close up view of a garter snake's mouth. If you look closely you can see the tiny rear teeth. Christian.cantrell at en.wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 5 years ago

      U are most welcome!

    • Phillbert profile image
      Author

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 5 years ago from The Ozarks

      Thanks mecheshier! I appreciate it!

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 5 years ago

      Fabulous Hub. Wonderful pics and info. Voted up for awesome and interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)