APES 2nd

San Francisco Garter Snake
Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia
Nickname: Garden Snakes or Gardner Snakes

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The San Francisco Garter Snake is a reptile. It is a large, adults reaching about 3 feet or more in length, colorful snake with a “burnt orange head, greenish- yellow dorsal stripe edged in black, bordered by a red stripe, which may be continuous or broken with black blotches, and then a black stripe.” This endangered species consumes a wide variety of prey including amphibians and their larvae, fish, birds and their eggs, small mammals, reptiles, ect. However the endangered California Red-legged Frog is their main food source. Also like most other snakes their food is swallowed whole. This species mating period occurs during the spring and also possibly during the fall. Garter snakes usually go through brumation, a situation similar to hibernation. During the mating process males compete with other males in order to fertilize the females. However, females can store the sperm for years before fertilization. A pregnancy of two to three months contributes to a live birth of as few as three or as many as fifty snakes that become independent upon birth. However the average for the San Francisco Garter Snake it is averaged between twelve and twenty-four.

In addition to their wide variety of food, they also have a wide variety of habitats. While still preferring grasslands or wetlands near ponds, marshes, and sloughs. However, during the winter they may move to upland areas away from water. San Francisco Garter snakes are thought to perfer holes, crevices, and mammal burrows to sleep in. These species is native to California and found on the San Francisco Peninsula. It is found in many places in the United States from East to West Coast and even north into Canada. This Garter snakes historical range includes most of San Mateo County in California. These snakes are mostly limited to small areas within this county due to urbanization.

The reason this species is listed endangered by the state and federal government is due to the decline of natural habitats available to this snake because of urban development, illegal capture by reptile collectors, agricultural land use, and the altering of waterways needed by the snake.

A project has been created by the National Park Service in the U.S Department of Interior in order to "address the threat of increasing urban development while researchers continue to develop new protection strategies in an ongoing effort to assure the survival of this species." This project enforces it's plan by protecting the snakes habitats, enhaancing already degraded habitats, and decreasing the use of pollutants (mostly certain pesticides and rodenticides) from being used in known habitats of the San francisco Garter Snake.

  1. US Fish and Wildlife Service: Species Profile
  2. California Reptiles and Amphibians
  3. World Lingo
  4. San Francisco Garter Snake
  5. National Park Service U.S Department of Interior: Recovery of The San Francisco Garter Snake