The Differences Between Garter Snakes and Water Snakes

  In the United States, and the rest of America, garter snakes and water snakes may be easily confused with each other. Both snakes are common, nonvenomous, growing up to between two and five-feet when they become mature. Each is found throughout a wide range in the United States, Canada and Mexico and they often occupy similar areas. In some species, their coloring and markings may even appear quite similar. However, there are several differences between them. The garter snakes belong to the genus Thamnophis. There are almost 30 species of garter snakes. The water snakes are in the genus Nerodia, and include about 10 known species. Both garter snakes and water snakes include many subspecies. Species and subspecies are sometimes categorized differently by different organizations. It should be noted that while anacondas and some kinds of boas and pythons often live in and around water, none are water snakes or garter snakes. Garter snakes have markings that resemble a garter belt, hence the name. They usually have one or three stripes running along the length of their body with checkered markings between the stripes. Garter snakes are usually more slender for their length than are water snakes. Water snakes are often brown or dark green in color, with markings of black, brown, or yellow. They have thicker, heavier bodies for their length than do garter snakes. With both water snakes and garter snakes, though, markings may be faded and blurred, making it more difficult to tell the difference between Continue Reading →

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A Look at the Characteristics of the Red Fox

There are a number of different kinds of fox and they can differ quite a bit in appearance, hunting characteristics and habitat. One representative kind of fox is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), since it is so wide-spread. To say that a red fox is an interesting creature would be a huge understatement. Those who have had the great fortune to live around these creatures have Probably learned that they possess talents that are hard to match by other carnivorous animals, particularly others in the canine or dog family. Those who haven’t been around foxes often make mistakes in identification and the physical characteristics of the animal are a key giveaway. The head of red foxes Foxes are members of the dog family. Still, they have a lot of adaptations that make them almost seem cat-like. For instance, a red fox has upright ears, ideal for hearing and like those of a cat. These foxes can hear the faintest rustling caused by a mouse or vole in much the same way that house cats can, and they are just as quick to pounce on the prey, which they also do in a similar way to a cat. The muzzle of a red fox is long and slender, giving the fox an excellent sense of smell, while allowing the eyes to face forward. Again, this is similar to a cat in that the red fox can smell its prey even before it sees it and it can detect slight movements, such as Continue Reading →

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