The Snake with Stripes

Eastern Garter Snake
Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis): snake with yellowish stripe down the center of its back, 3

In a half-acre vacant lot in downtown Greenville, or in a remote forested cove of the Jocassee Gorges, you can find the snake with the yellowish stripe down the center of its back. This is the Eastern garter snake, a fast and feisty member of our wildlife community. The first hallmark that you notice is the mid-back stripe that runs the length of the snake. There are also stripes along each lower side. Adult Eastern garter snakes are usually about 30 inches in length. They feed on a variety of items including earthworms, fish, and salamanders, and as noted, live in a wide variety of habitats. Encounter one and it’s likely to take off in a hurry, making them difficult to catch (if you are so inclined). However, there are times they can be more easily caught, for these garter snakes, unlike most of their kin, are sometimes found “sunning” on cool days in winter. Slowed by the low temperature they can then be picked up, but be ready – it’s then that the feisty part begins.