Western Terrestrial Garter Snake

Western Terrestrial Garter Snake

Other Names: Terrestrial Garter Snake, Wandering Garter Snake

Scientific Name: Thamnophis elegans

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 2nd and 3rd scale rows above the belly scales (ventral scales)
  • Total length:  45.7-109 cm (18.0-42.9 in)
  • Back color:  brown, gray, or bluish-green
  • Belly color:  usually black
  • Light colored stripe extending from the head to the tail down the middle of the back that is interlaid with dark blotches


  • Streams
  • Ponds
  • Wet meadows
  • Arid climate


  • Fish
  • Amphibians
  • Lizards
  • Small mammals
  • Hatchling birds
  • Slugs
  • Worms
  • Leeches

Life History

  • Diurnal
  • Active season:  April – October
  • Breeding season:  April – June
  • Gives live birth
  • 4-27 young per female


Western Terrestrial Garter Snake Range