A question for nancy

Saw this little guy chillin by the sidewalk today, he seemed friendly enough. Wondering what kind of snake this is?


Gardner snake from the looks.

pretty sure it’s a Garter, probably the 'common garter ’ (Thamnophis sirtalis) It might be a Short-headed Garter Snake (Thamnophis brachystoma) but I think they are eastern ohio… it’s not a Dekayi (Northern Brownsnake (Storeria dekayi dekayi)…

I’m mostly guessing from looking at the pic and googling… most definitly a Garter or Ribbon snake (love those grim looking eyebrows) That’s a good shot of both the head and the tail… my guess is it may be a female… very cool

They are slightly venomous, but they don’t have fangs (just rows of short teeth) the glands are at the back of the mouth and they chew it into their prey (earthworms, slugs, small fish, amphibians - depends on the species) If one were to bite you, you most likely will not have a reaction… or at most have some minor swelling at the bite… Some people are more sensitive, and might have more swelling (take a benadryle if you are worried) but they are basically harmless critters.

They also give live birth! the female retains the eggs and incubates them inside the body, then they sort of hatch/birth out…

they are also active during the daytime, which can make them more interesting pets - since they tend to be active when we are.

heh, when I pulled up at the Hive, I scanned the sidewalk by the parking lot forthe italian rock lizards - they should be showing up soon.


Oops , I forgot, if you should decide to catch one, be prepared for it to ‘musk’ you… It’s a harmless, but stinky sort of excretion from the snake’s ‘butt’ to try to drive off predators…

Yeah, it will fling/smear ‘poop’ on you.


Sounds like an excellent defense mechanism. I think I may pass on catching one. Thanks for all the info!

He/she was just hanging out on some branches, seemed to be asking for a photo shoot.

I was always under the impression that garter/gardener snakes were non-poisonous. I’ve even been bit by one. And I’ve never been “musked” by one. Guess I learned something today.

Personally, garter snakes and hognose snakes are my local favorites. They both remove unwanted pests like small rodents, the garter snakes are easy to identify, and the hognose snakes have some funny survival techniques, like playing dead and pretending to be a viper!

Like I said, it’s a very mild venom, and they have to chew it into the prey from glands at the back of the mouth - a single chomp is unlikely to get much… And the word here is MILD, most people will have NO effect from it.

They don’t always musk, but it’s a defense mechanism they can do.