Checkered Garter Snake

Checkered Garter Snake

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Thamnophis marcianus
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
7-10 yrs
WEIGHT
31-122 g
LENGTH
46-107 cm

The Checkered garter snake is a small generally harmless snake found in the Americas. It is typically greenish in color, with a distinct, black checkerboard pattern down its back. There is a large cream-colored crescent mark on each side of the head and the belly is yellowish.

Distribution

Checkered garter snakes are native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America. They prefer to live in the desert, savanna, and grassland, usually close to rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, springs, marshes, swamps, and flooded areas. In the southern parts of their range, these snakes can be found in tropical dry and moist forests.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Checkered garter snakes are diurnal terrestrial creatures. They are good swimmers and may spend a long time in the water while searching for prey. When threatened will release a foul-smelling liquid from their cloaca and may also strike and bite if provoked. They will also slither into the water to escape a predator on land. Checkered garter snakes are generally solitary but during the winter they hibernate in groups. They hibernate in abandoned burrows or deep crevices in rocky hillsides. Garter snakes have complex systems of pheromonal communication and are able to find other snakes by following their pheromone-scented trails. They use the vomeronasal organ to communicate via pheromones through the tongue flicking behavior which gathers chemical cues in the environment.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Checkered garter snakes are carnivores. They prey on small frogs, toads, small fish, earthworms, small lizards, small rodents such as mice and eggs.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
late March to early April
PREGNANCY DURATION
80-105 days
BABY CARRYING
6-35 young
INDEPENDENT AGE
at birth
FEMALE NAME
female
MALE NAME
male
BABY NAME
snakelet

Checkered garter snakes are polygynous which means that one male mates with more than one female. The breeding season usually takes place from late March through early April. After the gestation period of 80-105 days, females give birth to 6-35 live young. Snakelets are independent at birth and don't require parental care. Young males become reproductively mature at the age of 1,5 years while young females start to reproduce when they are 2 years old.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats to Checkered garter snakes at present. However, in Mexico and Central America, some populations of this species suffer from habitat loss, the use of pesticides, and the shortage of amphibian prey.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Checkered garter snake total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

References

1. Checkered Garter Snake on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checkered_garter_snake
2. Checkered Garter Snake on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/198521/2529116

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