Common Gartersnake Thamnophis sirtalis (Linnaeus, 1758)  Synonyms: Eastern Gartersnake.

Status:

Common Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis) is probably the most widespread and familiar snake species in Maryland. This adaptable serpent can be found in forested habitats, to more open habitats like old fields or grassland, to wetland borders and marshes, and even in suburban yards. While T. sirtalis appears to eat primarily aquatic and semiaquatic vertebrates (like fish or amphibians), they will feed heavily on earthworms or other prey at times. Garters are generally the first snake species to become active in spring, and the last one to enter hibernation in fall. This snake is nonvenomous, though they readily musk, and may nip if handled (Tennant, 2003). Common Gartersnake occurs in every Maryland county, and is generally common to abundant (Maryland DNR).

Description:

This widespread snake species is generally distinctive in Maryland. The conspecific Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis s. saurita) is superficially similar, also showing dark and light longitudinal lines like T. sirtalis. T. saurita shows a contrasting pale whitish spot on the preocular scale, which is generally lacking on sirtalis. Both species show a maximum of 19 dorsal scale rows. The palelateral line on Eastern Garter occupies scale rows 2 and 3, while it is higher on ribbon, on scale rows 3 and 4. The labial scales lack dark markings on ribbon, while Common Gartersnake typically shows some dark markings at the scale borders. Ribbonsnakes have a proportionately longer tail, and a more slender body than garter snakes (Rossman et al., 1996).

There are 228 records in the project database.

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A Common Gartersnake in Worcester Co., Maryland (6/9/2013). Photo by Scott Housten. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Harford Co., Maryland (6/28/2018). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Calvert Co., Maryland (10/24/2016). Photo by Mary B. Hollinger. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Allegany Co., Maryland (7/28/2018). Photo by Sue Muller. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Harford Co., Maryland (9/2/2016). Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Allegany Co., Maryland (5/12/2013). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Harford Co., Maryland (4/13/2018). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Baltimore City, Maryland (4/19/2015). Photo by Wendy Crowe. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Carroll Co., Maryland (5/1/2013). Photo by Scott Housten. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Washington Co., Maryland (9/4/2017). Photo by Linda Lewis. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Montgomery Co., Maryland (11/3/2017). Photo by Justin Lee. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Dorchester Co., Maryland (9/28/2018). Photo by Ben Springer. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Calvert Co., Maryland (10/7/2018). Photo by Ben Springer. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Garrett Co., Maryland (6/9/2013). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Worcester Co., Maryland (6/9/2013). Photo by Scott Housten. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Wicomico Co., Maryland (8/4/2014). Photo by Scott Housten. (MBP list)

Common Gartersnakes in Patapsco Valley SP, Maryland (4/6/2010). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Baltimore Co., Maryland (4/23/2017). Photo by Matthew Beziat. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake with American Toad prey at Soldier's Delight NEA, Baltimore Co., Maryland (5/5/2012). Photo by Frode Jacobsen. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake preying on a Southern Leopard Frog in Calvert Co., Maryland (11/6/2016). Photo by Ben Springer. (MBP list)

A Common Gartersnake in Kent Co., Maryland (4/16/2018). Photo by Matt Redman. (MBP list)


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