Garter snake

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I know many folks are afraid of snakes, and I haven’t always fully appreciated them. However, I’ve come to understand that they are beneficial, and it was a treat to see this Garter snake basking in the backyard sun recently. Note the eye with a round pupil. Most poisonous snakes in North America have a vertical pupil.

Garter Snake

Eastern Garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) are one of the most common North American reptiles, and are considered harmless. Their appearance can vary, but they usually have three yellowish stripes. They feed on mice, slugs, insects, etc. Unlike other snakes that lay eggs, garter snakes give birth to live young.

I’m glad we don’t have to be concerned about posionous snakes in the yard, but I appreciate Garter snakes for the diversity and interest they provide. Although we don’t often see them, I’m glad to have them in the backyard.

10 thoughts on “Garter snake”

  1. I would love to have garter snakes in my backyard again. I had one last year but found it only after a wandering neighbor’s outdoor cat had killed it – also killed two blue jay babies. I love cats, have two myself, but they need to be kept indoors! Some say that, if the cat insists on going outdoors, it is best to allow this only at dusk, once most of the birds are on the nest, at rest for the night. Great photos, Betty!

    1. Ann, Sorry to hear of last year’s experience with the cat. I share your concern about cats allowed to roam outdoors. Had never heard the idea of only let them out at dusk. Thanks for sharing the idea.

  2. I wish we had more garter snakes and NO rattlesnakes. My friend came across 24 rattlesnakes last summer hiking in the foothills. In concern for our dogs, we had to adjust our hiking trails to walking paths in the summer. I miss the mountain trails but it’s not worth having one of our dogs killed or injured. The picture of your snake is wonderful. I’ve come to love those round-eyed creatures!

    1. Keli, a garter snake in the yard is fine with me. Rattlesnakes are a totally different matter, for humans and for dogs. Seems odd that you have so many. Where are the natural predators we need to keep things in balance?

  3. Hi Betty! What a great photo of the Garter snake, and i do enjoy reading all
    the other comments. I am very grateful that we have NO poisonous snakes in Jersey,
    only grass snakes which are rarely seen. If i see one on our golf course, which is a
    great place for spotting all sorts of wildlife and wild flowers, i will do my best
    to check out it’s eyes!

  4. Betty, Such a great capture of the Garter snake! I like them, but I don’t. I like what they eat, to keep away mice and slugs, and I don’t kill my garter snakes. I just don’t care for them running across my feet!! Hope you are enjoying your spring! Can’t wait to see your next posted capture.

    1. Thanks, Julia. I certainly understand your mixed emotions about Garter snakes. However, I’m glad to know that you don’t kill them.

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