Valley garter snake
Scientific name: Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi
- Subspecies of the common garter snake.
- Medium sized snake up to 34 inches long.
- Nearly black background color with three bright stripes running the length of the body; underside is pale yellow or bluish gray.
- Most distinguishing characteristics of this subspecies in our region are the irregular red spots along the sides.
- Thought to be common in the past, now in decline for no apparent reason.
- Closely associated with permanent surface water.
- In Yellowstone area, observed only in the Falls River drainage in the Bechler region and three miles south of the south entrance along the Snake River.
- Generally active during the day.
- In the Yellowstone area, it eats mostly toads, chorus frogs, fish remains, and earthworms; can eat relatively poisonous species.
- Predators include fish, birds, and carnivorous mammals.