Snake-a-Rama

The next time a harmless garter snake slithers near you, here are a few things to keep in mind.

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  • Length: 18-51 inches.
  • Number of stripes on a garter: 3. One runs down the middle of the back; the others are on each side of the belly with a checkerboard pattern between.
  • Rows of teeth: 4. A garter's mouth contains several small teeth that point backward. The teeth are used to move live prey down its throat.
  • Average litter: 18. Live young (not eggs) are delivered in late summer or early fall and mature in two year.
  • Species of garters: 13. All garters are members of the largest common snake family; Colubridae.
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Did You Know?

  • The garter snake was named for its resemblance to the garters worn by men and women of generations past.
  • Without constriction or venom, garter snakes feast on earthworms, fish, frogs, toads, salamanders, mice, and bird eggs.
  • When annoyed or frightened, garter snakes emit a musky odor and/or defecate. They may also bite but are not venomous; if there is a reaction it is usually only a slight rash.
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