Thursday, August 18, 2011

Common Garter Snake

Garter snakes occupy a variety of habitats including pond and stream edges, wetlands, forests, fields, rocky hillsides and residential areas. They are often observed as they bask on rocks, wood piles, stone walls, hedges and walkways. Although they feed on a variety of small animals, garter snakes' primary prey are earthworms and amphibians. Their saliva appears to be toxic to amphibians and other small animals and a bite may produce swelling or a burning rash in some people. Although garter snakes may or may not bite if handled, most individuals secrete a foul-smelling fluid from anal glands when alarmed. This one did not try to bite but it did secrete its stink on me. That I did expect. I pick these up often and none of them have ever tried to bite me.

The Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) is a snake indigenous to North America. Most garter snakes have a pattern of yellow stripes on a brown or green background and their average length is about 50 cm (20 in), maximum about 125 cm (49 in). This is a young snake we found by the fence to the sheep paddock.

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