Checkered garter snake

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Checkered garter snake
Thamnophis marcianus.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Thamnophis
Species:
T. marcianus
Binomial name
Thamnophis marcianus
(Baird & Girard, 1853)
Synonyms[2]
  • Eutainia marciana
    Baird & Girard, 1853
  • Eutaenia marciana
    Bocourt, 1893
  • Thamnophis marcianus
    Ruthven, 1907

The checkered garter snake (Thamnophis marcianus) is a species of garter snake in the subfamily Natricinae of the family Colubridae. The species is endemic to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America.

Etymology[edit]

The specific epithet, marcianus, is in honor of American Brigadier General Randolph B. Marcy, who led surveying expeditions to the frontier areas in the mid 19th century.[3]

Description[edit]

The checkered garter snake is typically greenish in color, with a distinct, black checkerboard pattern down its back. It is capable of growing to a total length (including tail) of 42 inches (107 cm), but is usually 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm).[4]

Habitat[edit]

The preferred habitats of T. marcianus are desert and grassland, usually close to water.[4]

Diet[edit]

The diet of T. marcianus includes small frogs, toads, small fish, and earthworms.[citation needed] If kept as a pet, it can be trained on live or freeze-thawed mice, but even so, it is fussy eater and can suddenly start to refuse mice at any point.[citation needed]

Defensive behavior[edit]

T. marcianus will strike and bite if provoked. It will also release a foul-smelling liquid from its cloaca onto attackers.[citation needed]

Venom[edit]

T. marcianus has been found to have mild venom.[citation needed]

Subspecies[edit]

Two subspecies of T. marcianus are recognized as being valid, including the nominotypical subspecies.[2]

Nota bene: A trinomial authority in parentheses indicates that the subspecies was originally described in a genus other than Thamnophis.

Albino checkered garter snake

In captivity[edit]

The checkered garter snake is the easiest garter snake to tame. Even a wild-caught one can become tame in a few days if handled carefully.[citation needed] The checkered garter snake is frequently available in the exotic pet trade, and makes a hardy captive animal.[citation needed] It can be trained to accept mice or fish fillets as food.[citation needed] Captive breeding, while not common, is done, and albino variants are being produced.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chaves G, Lamar W, Porras LW, Solórzano A, Sunyer J, Hammerson GA (2013). "Thamnophis marcianus ". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2013: e.T198521A2529116. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-2.RLTS.T198521A2529116.en. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Thamnophis marcianus". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  3. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Thamnophis marcianus, p. 168).
  4. ^ a b Powell R, Conant R, Collins JT (2016). Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Fourth Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 494 pp., 47 color plates, 207 figures. ISBN 978-0-544-12997-9. (Thamnophis marcianus, p. 428 + Plate 42).

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Baird SF, Girard CF (1853). Catalogue of North American Reptiles in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Part I.—Serpents. Washington, District of Columbia: Smithsonian Institution. xvi + 172 pp. (Eutainia marciana, new species, pp. 36–37).
  • Behler JL, King FW (1979). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 743 pp. ISBN 0-394-50824-6. (Thamnophis marcianus, p. 669 + Plate 515).
  • Schmidt KP, Davis DD (1941). Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 365 pp. (Thamnophis marcianus, pp. 241–243).
  • Smith HM, Brodie ED Jr (1982). Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3. (Thamnophis marcianus, pp. 150–151).
  • Stebbins RC (2003). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series ®. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. xiii + 533 pp. ISBN 978-0-395-98272-3. (Thamnophis marcianus, p. 389 + Plate 50 + Map 159).
  • Stejneger L, Barbour T (1917). A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 125 pp. (Thamnophis marcianus, p. 101).
  • Wright AH, Wright AA (1957). Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Ithaca and London: Comstock Publishing Associates. 1,105 pp. (in two volumes). (Thamnophis marcianus, pp. 802–806, Figure 231 + Map 58 on p. 763).