Terrestrial Gartersnake

A white and gray striped snake with black dots
A terrestrial gartersnake near Mammoth Hot Springs

NPS/Jeff Arnold

 

Scientific Name

Thamnophis elegans

Identification

  • Most common reptile in the park.
  • 6 to 30 inches long.
  • Brown, brownish green, or gray with three light stripes—one running the length of the back and a stripe on each side.

Habitat

  • Usually found near water in all areas of the park.
  • Eats small rodents, fish, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, earthworms, slugs, snails, and leeches.

Behavior

  • May discharge musk from glands at the base of the tail when threatened.
  • Gives birth to as many as 20 live young in late summer or fall.
 
The head of a brown spotted snake among grass

Reptiles

There are six reptile species in Yellowstone.

A tan and black snake on a rocky surface

Bullsnake

Bullsnakes are often mistaken for rattlesnakes because of their appearance and behavior.

A tan and brown spotted snake with rattler in a coil

Prairie Rattlesnake

Prairie rattlesnakes are the only dangerously venomous snakes in Yellowstone.

A dark gray, tan, and white striped lizard with small spikes on gravel

Sagebrush Lizard

The sagebrush lizard is the only lizard in Yellowstone.

A black and white snake on dead grass

Common Gartersnake

Common gartersnakes are only found in southern parts of the park.

A brown snake on gravel next to a human hand

Rubber Boa

Rubber boas are usually found in rocky areas near streams or rivers with nearby shrubs or trees.

Last updated: June 14, 2017

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Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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