All About Garter Snakes

A garter snake in someone's handGarter snakes are the most common snake in North America. I have seen them lots of time. It is the state reptile of Massachusetts, my home state.

There are about 100 different kinds, with many different skin patterns. Lots of them are named for their habitats, like the Oregon, Arizona, Mountain, and Mexican garter snakes. Others are named for the way they look, like the Blackbelly, Checkered, Shorthead, and Longtail garter snakes. Still others are named for the people who first cataloged A pile of garter snakesthem, like Butler’s, Godman’s, and  Sumichrast’s garter snakes.

But my favorite name is the Wandering garter snake. I wonder where it wanders.

All snakes are cold-blooded (they need to warm up in the sun in order to really get going) and carnivorous. Garter snakes will eat almost anything they can catch, including frogs, slugs, worms, lizards, birds, fish, and mice. They swallow everything whole.

Lots of people keep them as pets. (But they cannot do tricks like my dog.)

Garter snake tied in a knotThey mostly do not bite, and even if they do, they do not have fangs like rattlesnakes and cobras. Until recently scientists thought garter snakes weren’t poisonous. But actually they produce a mild venom which they spread into wounds by chewing. (So if you do get bitten, don’t just hang out and let the snake gnaw on you. And even if you do, the venom is not fatal to humans.)Brightly colored garter snake

They don’t get very big. The longest are about one meter, but most are half that size. They are pretty easy to catch.

If you have anything interesting to comment about snakes, please do it below.


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Sneaking, snakes, and scary nights at the greatest summer camp anywhere!

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Comments from my Readers & Friends

    1. My research tells me you must’ve been bitten by an very unusual snake. If I am correct, you soon will have superhuman powers. You’ll be able to turn solid objects into liquid through mind power alone. I hope you use your powers for good…not evil.

  1. I was bitten by a black snake with yellow on its back. Are those snakes poisonous? Cause the next day I felt weaker and weaker. I want to know if I have poison in me. Please respond right away. After my snake bite I’ve been getting terrible minegrains. And I’ve been feeling a little light headed.

  2. I was bitten by a black snake with yellow on its back. Are those snakes poisonous? Cause the next day I felt weaker and weaker.

  3. Cottonmouths (also called water moccasins) can detect a change in temperature of as little as 1 degree Celsius (or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

  4. My dog found one in the back yard of my house and it looked like the 1 pic you put. My step dad picked it up and said do you want to touch it and I said…….
    NO NO NO and NO!!

  5. I have a female that just had 40 babies and for all u who need to know how to catch them u see them and grab them and suck it up

  6. almost caught one missed by a little… ok it bit my arm and didint let go

  7. i killed a garter snake once.On ACCIDENT.i stepped on it ,and i cried.IT WAS A BABY!!its buried in my backyard now.I felt so bad.

  8. Hi, my name is Ibrahim, i’m in fourth grade, and i’m ten years old. PLEASE KEEP ON WRITING BOOKS!!!!

    1. Hmmm…I never thought of it. Since my sister was born first, I just always assumed she’d be around.

    2. Here’s the answers to all your questions:
      – I am writing more books.
      – Goon is 13.
      – Nah, I don’t hate Kevin (not anymore).
      – Georgie has ALWAYS gone to the same school as me.

  9. Once, there was a kid who had a collection of live snakes, then one of his biggest boas got out and went next store. When the girl living next store went to the bathroom and steped on it. She screamed. She left. Never seen again. Scary, but true.

  10. I love snakes! I know it is weird because I’m a girl, right? But still, I love all animals and want to do no harm to them. By the way, you website is AWESOME!! 🙂 Great job Cheesie! 🙂

    1. I have eaten fried rattlesnake meat. I liked it. (But the thought of it was kind of weird.)

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