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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