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Checkered Garter Snake (Thamnophis marcianus)

Natural History

Checkered Garter Snakes are brown or olive colored snake with a distinctive black checker board pattern along their bodies and cream or white stripes along their top and sides. Their underbodies are white, occasionally tinted with green, yellow or gray. They grow to between 13 - 42 inches in length, but are more typically in the range of 28 inches.

The Checkered Garter Snake was named marcianus is in honor of American Brigadier General Randolph B. Marcy, who lead surveying expeditions to the frontier areas in the mid 1800s.

Checkered Garter Snakes live in lowland desert and grassland areas near springs streams and rivers. In Arizona they are found only in the southern portion of the state. They are most active at night when they may be found hunting for fish, toads, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, lizards, snakes, mice and invertebrates such as slugs or earthworms.

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