Eastern Plains Garter Snake

[Thamnophis radix]

The eastern plains garter snake can grow to be 16 to 36 inches long. Their coloration can be dark olive to dark brown. They have one dorsal stripe and two lateral stripes.

Location: African Elephant Crossing



Range of the eastern plains garter snake is extreme western Indiana, northern Illinois and Missouri, eastern Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and southwest Wisconsin.


The eastern plains garter snake prefers damp areas such as wet meadows, bogs, mud bottomed streams, and ditches.


The gestation time for the eastern plains garter snake is around 4 months.


Young eastern plains garter snakes are born alive and the numbers range from 6 to 40 snakes with 20 being the average.


Eastern plains garter snakes are one of the most cold-tolerant snakes, often emerging from hibernation to bask on warm, sunny winter days. Predators include birds of prey, mammals, and other snakes. Large numbers are killed on roads each spring and autumn as they move to and from upland hibernating areas. This species is one of the more sedate members of the genus. With gentle training they will tolerate handling. They are one of the more common species found in pet stores.


Eastern plains garter snakes mate in April or May, and give birth to 5 to 30 young from August through early October. Newborns are from 15 to 25 cm. in length. Newborns eat earthworms, fish, and frogs, but reject grasshoppers.

Wild Diet

Fish, frogs, toads, earthworms, insects, and carrion.

Zoo Diet




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