Garter snake

   The garter snake is a nonpoisonous snake belong­ing to the genus Thamnophis, common throughout the United States and found also in Southern Ganada, Mexico, and as far south as Guatemala. They vary in size and color. A large specimen of garter snake is about three feet long and one inch thick in its greatest diameter, and the usual pattern is three light stripes on a darker ground—one along the middle of the back and one on each side. The ventral surface is slate colored.
garter snake
   Garter snakes inhabit swamps, woods, rocky fields and grassy meadows, and feed upon earthworms, tadpoles, fish, frogs, toads, small mammals, and birds. Some species of garter snakes are semiaquatic. In the northern parts of their range they hibernate from December to March, and are gregarious in the winter and spring, during the breeding season. The eggs are hatched within the body of the mother, and the young (5½ to 7½ inches long), which may number from 30 to 50, are inde­pendent from birth. They are produced usually in late summer, mature in a year, and breed the following spring.
   Among the most common species are T. sirtalis, the common garter snake found in all parts of North America; T. elegans confined to the Pacific Coast region and distinguished by its handsome coloring; T. radix, in the plains region, especially fond of fish; T. sauritus sauritus, known as the eastern ribbon snake, similar to a water snake in its habits; and T. sauritus proximus, the western ribbon snake, larger and stouter than the eastern variety of garter snake, but also aquatic in habit.