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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The Differences Between Centipedes and Millipedes

It isn’t difficult at all to tell the difference between a centipede and a millipede. They don’t look the same, they don’t have the same traits, and they don’t have the same habits. People shouldn’t let themselves become confused by them. Centipede and millipede; even the names are extremely misleading. Still, these creatures aren’t at all difficult to tell apart. The first thing that should be addressed is the misleading part about the common names. Centipedes don’t have a hundred legs, and millipedes don’t have a thousand, as the names imply. Centipedes usually have about 20 pairs of legs and millipedes often have somewhat more than this. The first clue for identification, then, is that millipedes have more legs, normally. The bodies of both are distinctly segmented. However, centipedes have only one pair of legs per segment, while millipedes have two pairs of legs per segment. A millipede’s legs are also shorter and some centipedes have very long legs. Despite this, centipedes tend to become larger than millipedes. Most centipedes are also somewhat flattened in appearance, looking from top to bottom, while millipedes are usually more rounded. This can sometimes be an identifier even at a distance. Although there can be wide variations in the color, the most common coloration for each is also normally different. Centipedes are often light in color, often ranging from yellow to light brown and some species can be quite colorful. These can have extremely long legs. They can be quite beautiful, as much so Continue Reading →

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Getting to Know the Mule Deer

Though mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are relatively well known in North America, this is a North American species so people living in countries other than Canada, United States and Mexico might be unacquainted with the animal. It is a deer that mostly lives in the western part of North America, so people in the east may also not know this species, though they may have seen many white tailed deer, which are related. General characteristics of mule deer Fully grown, this is often a large animal. It can get nearly four feet tall at the shoulder, nearly seven feet long from the snout to the tail and may weigh as much as 325 pounds, with large bucks sometimes exceeding this. The color varies from rich brown in the summer to grayish brown in the winter. The underside is pale and both the does (females) and bucks (males) have light throat and rump patches. The tail is white except for a black tip. Mule deer are named for their ears, which are large like those of a mule. Only the bucks have antlers, which are not true horns and are shed every year. Unlike white tails, which have antler tines that stem upward from the forward facing central tine, a mule deer has antlers that branch directly upward, first outward and then inward, and it isn’t uncommon for the smaller tines to have even more tines. Mule deer behavior Mule deer have a separation of the sexes during most of the Continue Reading →

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