Prairie Ridge Ecostation

Eastern Garter Snake

Thamnophis  sirtalis

Spring welcomes many plants and animals from their winter retreats. Here at Prairie Ridge we have had the opportunity to be greeted on sunny days by an Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) that has taken its winter refuge near our offices. This scaly critter seems oblivious to approach as long as we don't harass it.

The Eastern Garter Snake...         scans the area looking for a meal...         probing the air with its tongue...

Eastern Garter Snakes are commonly found throughout North Carolina. When alarmed or handled, these relatively harmless snakes may flatten their heads, attempt to bite, and  exude a foul smelling musk from glands near the base of their tail in an attempt to defend themselves. As predators, these snakes will eat a variety of smaller animals including  earthworms, fish, and amphibians. Our local specimen has been recently observed eating a toad.  

                it finds a toad...                         and enjoys eating its tasty toad treat!

Be sure to be on the look out for snakes and other reptiles in your yard as they become more active with the warmer spring weather. You can help scientists track our native  reptiles and amphibians by participating in the Carolina Herp Atlas by visiting their website:

Find out more about the natural happenings at Prairie Ridge at our What Time Is It In Nature Archive.