What is a Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)? If you are from Massachusetts, no need to raise your hands. You are supposed to know about your state reptile anyway. Additionally, if you are a citizen of America and have little interest in snakes, you are well known too. Even if you don’t know, no need to be upset. There are so many things all of you are going to know. Some of you already knew, and the rest of you are going to know it from now onwards.
How It Ended Being Up Named As ‘Garter’ Snake?
Never rang a bell in your mind? Apart from guessing that it’s a snake, what else do you know then? Widespread theories state that the term ‘Garter’ was added to them because of their rope-like shape. Garters are small thin fabrics that one used to wear below the knee. The purpose of them was to prevent the stocking from falling down. There are other theories as well that describes the source of their name.
Time For Some Scientific Facts
You all must be thinking, ‘here comes the boring part’. Don’t worry. It won’t be. Unlike many other species of living beings, the females grow larger. The average length of a female garter snake is approximately 3 ft. (90 cm). Meanwhile, the length of male garter snakes averages around 2 ft. (60 cm). The main reason behind this is to help the female carry more eggs. Meanwhile, you will find the female Garter snakes less active in comparison. The reason behind this is because they conserve their energy to use it during the time of reproduction. Males, on the other hand, are active and hence skinny in comparison. The average lifespan of garter snakes is approximately 10 years.
As per records, in May 2006, a red-sided garter snake was found that was 1.34 meter long. It was a twelve-year-old female at that time and the largest garter snake found till to-date.
The garter snake belongs to the genus Thamnophis. However, controversies are there, that they belong to the genus Nerodia, to which, the water-snakes belong. Although you can find different varieties of garter snakes all across America, have you noticed something common about them? They always prefer to reside near water bodies. Why? We will come to that.
What Does Garter Snake Eat?
A large part of their diet includes amphibians. And that’s one of the main reasons to reside nearby water-bodies. Alongside this, their list of prey includes anything that they can overpower, preferably smaller in size. Few of the common names in the list are lizards, frogs, rodents, leeches, and even minnows. However, some of them bear the same appetite for eggs as well. They swallow their food whole and then digest them slowly.
Can They Kill Me?
Not likely. Garter snakes do have venom, but they are mild enough to kill a grown-up adult. However, if untreated, it leads to swelling and bruising.
Few Last Things
There is something that requires mentioning here. The San Francisco Garter Snake, a sub-species, made its entry into the endangered species list in 1969. And it is still there. The number of narrow-headed garter snake (Thamnophis rufipunctatus) has also shown a steep decline. One of the main reasons behind this is the predation of Crayfish. However, garter snakes are still found in abundance all across the States of America. One of the main reasons behind this is their ability to adapt to different types of climate and food habits.