Sunday, August 15, 2010

Butler's Garter Snake

In the past I've taked about large constrictors and poisonous snakes, but now we're going to learn about a much smaller snake, Thamnophis butleri. Butler's Garter Snakes can be found in several locations across the Midwestern United States and part of Canada, but they are often listed as threatened or endangered due to habitat loss. They live in meadows, marshlands, and woodlands, but the populations are often isolated.

Image from NewBerlin.org
Butler's Garter Snakes are distinguishable from other snakes (and other Garter Snakes even) by their black to olive-brown bodies and the three yellow stripes that run their length. The top stripe runs directly down the top of the back, while the other two run along the sides at the 3rd scale row. They have very small heads. They typically grow to around 20in.

Butler's Garter Snakes feed on a variety of creatures including worms, frogs, and fish. Due to their northern habitats, they hibernate in the winter. They often do this in colonies, and sometimes with other species of Garter Snake. They snakes are typically active after the frosts go away, and will remain so until the temperature drops consistently below about 50 degrees. Butler's Garter Snakes are ovoviviparous, giving birth to live young in early summer.

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