(Bronikowski and Vleck, 2010; Harding, 1997; Wechsler, 2001), Local climate and seasons dictate when western terrestrial garter snakes are active. Rubber boas are constrictors and eat small mammals, especially young mice and shrews. Females also use a pheromone to alert males they are ready to mate. Western terrestrial garter snake is a species of snake belonging to the family Colubridae, found in western North America. Frost, D., G. Hammerson, B. Hollingsworth. When these snakes hibernate during winter, they often move into rocky areas. In order to survive the winter the young need to be aggressive in acquiring food. Avian predation and the evolution of life histories in the garter snake Thamnophis elegans. that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle). Some are basically finished; others are very much under construction. A widespread and adaptable snake found across the western half of North America, Thamnophis elegans has been recorded from sea level to high elevations. It is an intriguing species that sometimes wanders far away from water and can be quit terrestrial, hence the name Western Terrestrial Garter Snake. Two of these subspecies — the Arizona Garter Snake, found in Arizona and New Mexico, and the Upper Basin Garter Snake, found in Utah and along Utah’s borders with Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming — are poorly defined and not recognized by the CNAH. Females produce eggs about the same time. They hunt by looking for movements and observing chemical cues with their Jacobson’s organs. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. They are solitary during active times of the year. (Frost, et al., 2013), Western terrestrial garter snakes are often found near water, but can be found in water as well. In the wild it’s found across the western Great Plains and Canadian Prairies and into the Rocky Mountains. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. 2006. They are likely to return to the same rocky hibernation site annually. Journal of Animal Ecology, 78.6: 1242-1248. Dark spots occasionally occur on the back. They were first documented in 1758 and are divided into 13 subspecies. It’s range does extend to the southeast a bit south of Colorado Springs. In these metropolitan areas they share space with the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans), the most common of the state’s gartersnakes. Snakes of the United States and Canada: Natural History and Care in Captivity. 23. A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). November 13, 2013 commonly is … It should not be difficult to convert a snake of this species to a mouse-based diet, though there are always exceptions. After the female gives birth to the newborns, they are left to defend themselves. In dunes near seas and oceans this is compounded by the influence of salt in the air and soil. 2000. Garter Snake Hibernaculum Disturbed in B.C. Common garter snakes, a closely related species, live between 6 and 12 years in captivity, but the average life span in the wild is only 2 years. the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic. Individuals that live in inland areas usually hunt in and around water. "Thamnophis elegans" (On-line). In the Coast Range, it is found commonly in forest clearings that contain rotting stumps and logs. The female retains the eggs within her until the young are born. Irvine CA: Advanced Vivarium Systems. Whitaker, J. Three subspecies are currently recognized. This is a notably large range. This is a North American snake that is venomous, but that is not detrimental for people. Courtship begins when the temperature rises in the spring and females release a pheromone to alert males they are ready to mate. having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature. Drummond, H., G. Burghardt. Taxon Information These snakes become mature at 2 years of age. Grasslands. 2009. Accessed Metabolism, body size and life span: a case study in evolutionarily divergent populations of the garter snake (Thamnophis elegans). Here in Oregon they can be found just about everywhere in except for the highlands of the Cascade mountain range (see figure 1). The subspecies of Western Terrestrial Garter Snake found in B.C. London: Blandford. The General Care and Maintenance of Garter Snakes and Water Snakes. It’s hosted by DreamHost and powered by Movable Type. Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made) Legend: = Core Habitat = Marginal Habitat. Common garter snakes live in a wide range of habitats across North America. having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect. The chemical has a foul odor that the snake rubs on itself and onto the threat when there is contact. The most common causes of mortality is predation or over winter starvation in young snakes. Perlowin, David. left: Puget Sound garter; right: northwestern garter. Accessed There are also melanistic variants of T. elegans. Ernst, Carl H. and Evelyn M. Ernst. Until they are large enough to eat normal prey, young snakes eat insects and other invertebrates. having the capacity to move from one place to another. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. Tennant, Alan and R. D. Bartlett. Rossman, Douglas A., Neil B. Ford and Richard A. Seigel. Scientific and Common Names for the Amphibians and Reptiles of Mexico in English and Spanish. chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species. Sampling Western Skink Rubber Boa Racer Night Snake Gopher W. Terrestrial Common Western Sites Fence Lizard Snake Gaiter Snake Garter Snake Rattlesnake Figure 13. The western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans) is a western North American species of colubrid snake. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico. Classification, To cite this page: "Thamnophis elegans" (On-line). Some populations found in high elevation or near lakes have shorter lifespans. They are considered mildly venomous, but they are not a threat to people as they have no effective means of delivering the venom and it is only mildly toxic, causing minor irritation. Brown, Philip R. 1997. The venom can immobilize small preys only, that helps the snake swallow them. 1992. 2010. The American Midland Naturalist, 170.1: 66. Washington: Smithsonian Books. They prefer open fields, meadows and waterways. Houston: Gulf. They can sense vibrations, but it is unclear if they can hear well with their ears. I acquired a pair of yearling wandering garters in 2000; in 2002 they had a litter of seven babies. Individuals in other populations, at lower elevations have longer lifespans. The contents of this site are copyright © their respective authors and are subject to a Creative Commons Licence. and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation. The timing of reproduction varies based on latitude and climate. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria. Lakeside CA: Advanced Vivarium Systems. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands. Melanistic wandering garters have been produced. http://imnh.isu.edu. (Gould, 2013; Kaplan, 2000), The lifespan of Thamnophis elegans varies based on habitat. They are preyed on by a wide variety of predatory birds and mammals. Sparkman, A., A. Bronikowski, J. Billings, D. Von Borstel, S. Arnold. 2014. All-black individuals are occasionally found. From nose to tip of tail adults can measure between 460-960 mm and females are larger than males. Malabar FL: Krieger. www.thamnophis.com. Males stay in the den to continue mating. When they feel threatened, they secrete the contents of their cloaca. Up to six subspecies of Thamnophis elegans have been recognized; several of them are not recognized by all authorities on the basis of recent research. "Garter Snakes" (On-line). An isolated population occurs in Baja California, Mexico. Western terrestrial garter snake. Western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans). living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture. Garter Snakes Released at Den Site. "Western Terrestrial Garter Snake" (On-line). These snakes have a chemical that is secreted from their cloaca and musk glands when threatened. Bartlett, R. D. and Alan Tennant. These snakes require energy to invest in reproduction and they need to eat enough to survive winter hibernation. Disclaimer, privacy info. Their prey includes slugs, salamanders, small mammals, and lizards. Fields. Lawns. St. John, Alan. Snakes of North America: Eastern and Central Regions. Ranges widely from the California coast north through most of northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, into Canada, including Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and east into the states of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico and just barely making it into South Dakota, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. ... Western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans). Multiple paternity in the western terrestrial garter snake, Thamnophis elegans. In Mex­ico, they can be found in north­ern Baja Cal­i­for­nia. (Fortunately, no snakes were eaten during mating or birthing.) Gregory, P., L. Gregory. The head of the western garter snake is large and distinct from its neck. The Wandering Garter Snake (T. e. vagrans) is a species of special concern in Oklahoma. Garner, T., K. Larsen. Savonen, C. 2007. (Cossel Jr, 2000; Gould, 2013; Hallock and McAllister, 2009), The home range size of western terrestrial garter snakes is not reported in the literature and is likely to vary, depending on local habitat quality. For general information on keeping garter snakes in captivity, please see the Care Guide. The male succumbed to internal parasites in 2003. Adults vary from 16 to 43 inches in length. (Gould, 2013; Kaplan, 2000), Usually western terrestrial garter snakes mate in the spring, but mating can also occurs in the fall. In Canada, it can be found throughout the central and southern regions of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba. The snake is diurnal. Ge­o­graphic Range Thamnophis el­e­gans, the west­ern ter­res­trial garter snake, is found in North Amer­ica, rang­ing from north­ern Mex­ico to Canada. Note: These species pages are in various stages of completion. There are rough estimates of there at least 100,000 mature individuals in the wild, and there are no significant threats to this species. This elegant little garter snake is a frequent visitor to many backyards throughout its range. The Garter Snakes: Evolution and Ecology. When these snakes hibernate during winter, they often move into rocky areas. Members of some populations of the western terrestrial garter snake, Thamnophis elegans, are the only garter snakes known to constrict prey (Peterson, 1978; Gregory et al., 1980). The Garter Snakes: Natural History and Care in Captivity. Once warmed up, they are most active during the day and spend time hunting. 1994. Disclaimer: They typically produce 8 to 12 offspring per mating, although 4 to 19 have been recorded. Western terrestrial garter snakes are commonly found around lakes and slow flowing streams, but are also found in desert areas, plains, mountains, meadows, and forests as well. However, once western terrestrial garter snakes are born, they are left to defend themselves and there is no further parental care. "An introduction to the natural history of North American garter snakes with basic triage practices" (On-line). It is an immensely variable species, and even the most experienced herpetologists have trouble when it comes to identification. Accessed Isaac, L., P. Gregory. Like many species of North American garter snake, the Western terrestrial garter snake possesses a mildly venomous saliva. Bronikowski, A., D. Vleck. This species exhibits sexual dimorphism, as females are bigger than males. At least five subspecies are currently recognized. Once females have mated, they move out of the den where they were inseminated. Accessed January 22, 2021 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Thamnophis_elegans/. In captivity a number of pattern morphs, as well as an albino, have been produced. 1997. The San Pedro Mártir Garter Snake is found in Baja California; its common name in Spanish is Culebra de Agua Nómada de San Pedro Mártir. Garter snakes can be found in a variety of habitats: Woodland. They grow quickly, reproduce early in their lives, and produce more offspring. 2003. Hallock, L., K. McAllister. Mornings are spent warming up in the sun. Thamnophis elegans . Terrestrial Gartersnake: English Name Synonyms: Western Terrestrial Garter Snake Classification / Taxonomy: Scientific Name - Concept Reference: Collins, J. T. 1990. Reptiles of the Northwest. It is absent from the immediate vicinity of the coast north of Coos Bay. A snake will grow longer as it ages, until 1 year after sexual maturity. The subspecies of western terrestrial garter snake found in the pacific northwest is commonly called the wandering garter snake. the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females. In addition, many populations live in protected areas. They occur north into the very southern tip of Alaska, south to Oklahoma, east to Iowa and Minnesota and west to Montana and Wyoming. Facts, control & identification. Young snakes immediately start to feed in order to survive the long winter hibernation. It has possibly the widest prey preferences of any natricine: it will eat amphibians, earthworms, fish, mammals and other reptiles. Stay up to date by subscribing to the RSS feed or by following @gartersnakeinfo on Twitter. In captivity a number of pattern morphs, as well as an albino, have been produced. They are medium-sized snakes, usually 46–104 cm (18–41 in). They feed on frogs, worms, lizards, slugs, small mammals, and sometimes fish. 1983. Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes are reasonably common in the pet trade, at least as garter snakes go. They also retreat to shelter when it is too hot during the summer and emerge from their dens to bask on rocks on warm winter days. (Garner and Larsen, 2005; Gould, 2013), Females retain the eggs in their body before they hatch, which is a significant energy investment. having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. 2003. Dark-coloured populations from the Puget Sound area, once classified as Thamnophis elegans nigrescens Johnson, 1947, are now considered T. e. vagrans. They have 8 upper labial scales that border the mouth, and 10 lower labial scales along the jaw. November 05, 2013 Houston: Gulf. This organ is employed when a snake thrusts its tongue out, allowing the snake to "taste" the air, and it quickly withdraws its tongue back into the mouth to further process the sensation by rubbing the tongue on the sensory pits. The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students. November 05, 2013 It is found exclusively along the coast of Oregon and California. Usually below 11,000', but has been found at 13,100' in San Miguel County, southwest Colorado. www.anapsid.org. Norman OK: University of Oklahoma Press. You will mostly find a range of yellow or white stripe on the back of western terrestrial garter snakes with one stripe of the same color on both sides. The 6th and 7th upper scales are higher than they are wide, because there are glands in the upper jaw. Accessed The Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes are frequent visitors to many backyards throughout its range. In the United States, T. elegans ranges from New Mexico to western Oklahoma and Nebraska, through the Dakotas to the Canadian border and west to the Pacific Coast. Sweeney, Roger. November 13, 2013 at http://imnh.isu.edu/digitalatlas/bio/reptile/serp/thel/thelfram.htm. When they bite into prey they keep a firm hold. Since snakes are reptiles, they can either lay eggs or bear live young. They produce sperm at the end of summer, which is then stored until springtime mating. Harding, J. Three different subspecies of Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes (Thamnophis elegans) inhabit western North America. Litter size can vary based on how many males mated with a female. (Frost, et al., 2013), Western terrestrial garter snakes generally have grayish-green backs and yellow bellies. This is because sand does not hold water well so little is available to plants. Simply type a phrase or keyword into the box below and click the 'Go' button to search our site. The Animal Diversity Web team is excited to announce ADW Pocket Guides! The most commonly seen varieties are the Coast Garter Snake (especially the red morph) and the Wandering Garter Snake. There sometimes can be black or red spots between the side and top stripes. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia. Houston: Gulf. A terrestrial biome. living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. In my experience, feeding response is very good, if not outright ferocious. The Western Terrestrial Garter Snake is considered one of the easiest garter snake species to maintain in captivity because of its wide prey preferences. 1996. Topics Grants DRL 0089283, DRL 0628151, DUE 0633095, DRL 0918590, and DUE 1122742. Six subspecies are recognized by Rossman, Ford & Siegel(1996) but currently I only keep the Coast Garter Snakes (Thamnophis elegans terrestris). movements of a hard surface that are produced by animals as signals to others. (Garner and Larsen, 2005; Gould, 2013), Females give birth to live young after retaining the eggs in their bodies. A close up picture would show the snake’s eight upper labial scales, typical of all Thamnophis elegans subspecies. (Kaplan, 2000; Savonen, 2007), Western terrestrial garter snakes bite when they feel threatened, such as when they are handled. Venom paralyzes the prey just enough for the snake to swallow it whole. (Cossel Jr, 2000; Gregory and Gregory, 2006; Isaac and Gregory, 2012; Sparkman, et al., 2013), Western terrestrial garter snakes are negatively impacted by predation from predatory birds as well as mammals such as opossums, raccoons, and minks. Always exceptions once western terrestrial garter snake ( Thamnophis elegans ) following handling by human predators... terrestrial. Snakes live in inland areas usually hunt in and around water, 1947, are now considered T. vagrans. Background color between the stripes is brownish or greenish are in various stages of completion search site. Up into the Mountains any natricine: it will eat amphibians,,... No snakes were eaten during mating or birthing. concern in Oklahoma Mex­ico to Canada and soil others. Animals of the body they may also attempt immobility, depending on body temperature other! Of moisture available the red-sided garter 's ( T. s. parietalis ) range is nearly as as... 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