Butler's garter snake
|Butler's garter snake|
It is found in northwestern Ohio, northeastern Indiana, the eastern portion of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and the adjacent extreme southern tip of Ontario, Canada. Also, a disjunct population is found in southeastern Wisconsin.
Description and identification
It is a small, slender snake, averaging 38–51 cm (15–20 in) long, with three yellow to orange stripes along the length of its body. The background color can range from olive-brown to black, and it may also be possible to discern two rows of dark spots between the side and back stripes. These features do little to distinguish them from most other garter snakes species, but the placement of the lateral, or side, stripes is unique to this species. In Butler's garter snakes, the lateral stripes are centered on the third scale row up from the ventral scales, and they also overlap the adjacent second and fourth scale rows. This contrasts with the lateral stripe placement of other garter snake species.
For those hoping to avoid getting close enough to inspect the position of the lateral stripe, other features may help in their identification. The head is unusually small for a garter snake, and, when excited, the effort this snake expends to escape seems to go more towards thrashing in place than to getting away.
Butler’s garter snakes inhabit moist, grassy, open canopy areas, such as meadows, wet prairies, marshes, savannas and grasslands. Like Kirtland's snake, they may also be found in grassy vacant lots in suburban and residential areas. The species can often be found under rocks, logs, trash, and boards. They subsist on a diet of mainly earthworms, but they may also eat leeches, salamanders, and frogs. The species hibernates communally, often with other garter snake species. Butler's garter snakes are a relatively short-lived species, and they reach sexual maturity in their second spring.
- Smith, H.M., and E.D. Brodie, Jr. (1982). Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. pp. 146-147.
- Conant, Roger. (1975). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Map 113.
- Schmidt, K.P., and D.D. Davis. (1941). Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 251-252.
- Conant, Roger. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 161.
- Indiana Legislative Services Agency (2011), "312 IAC 9-5-4: Endangered species of reptiles and amphibians", Indiana Administrative Code, retrieved 28 Apr 2012
- Cope, E.D. (1889). On the Eutæniæ of southeastern Indiana. Proc. United States Natl. Mus. 11 :399-401.
- Center for Reptile and Amphibian Conservation and Management - Indiana-Purdue University
- Butler's Garter Snake at Animal Diversity Web
- Butler’s Garter Snake, Natural Resources Canada