Plains Garter Snake

Plains Garter Snake

Scientific Name: Thamnophis radix

Family: Natricidae



Description & Size

  • Legless
  • No eyelids
  • Lacks external ears
  • Scales on the back have a ridge in the middle (keeled)
  • Single anal scale
  • Lightly colored stripe on each side of the snake that runs head to tail on the 3rd and 4th  scale rows above the belly scales (ventral scales)
  • Scales on the lip have black lines extending from mouth to chin
  • Total length:  38.0-109.5 cm (15.0-43.1 in)
  • Yellow to orange stripe extending from the head to the tail down the middle of the back
  • Alternating row of black spots above and below the stripe on the side of the body


  • Wet prairies with wetlands associated with them
  • Woodland/grassland riparian edges


  • Amphibians
  • Fish
  • Worms
  • Slugs

Life History

  • Diurnal, rarely nocturnal
  • Active season:  March – October
  • Breeding season:  March – early June
  • Gives live birth
  • 3-35 young per female


Plains Garter Snake Range