|The Wandering Garter Snake has a gray,
brown or greenish body with a black checkered pattern and three
cream-colored stripes (occasionally the side stripes are not visible).
Wandering Garter Snakes get their name from the belief that they tend to
travel further from water than other garter snakes, but studies have
found them to be primarily a
riparian habitat specialist. They typically live in moist areas near
water; margins of streams, ponds, lakes, damp meadows; open grassland to
forest; at elevations from sea level to 10,500 feet. The Wandering
Garter is the widest-ranging of six subspecies of the Western
Terrestrial Garter Snake, and the only one found in Canada. In the US
they range from the Prairies to the West Coast, and cross the Rocky
The Wandering Garter Snake on
this page was photographed in the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon
shortly after catching a fish.
The snakes eat a broad range of foods. In addition to
the usual garter snake diet of fish, amphibians, and soft-bodied
invertebrates, Wandering Garters will also eat any small vertebrate they
can find, including mammals and reptiles.
The snakes are not poisonous, though some people have experienced an
allergic reaction to the snake's saliva when bitten.