NON-VENOMOUS

Other common names

Eastern gartersnake, Blue-striped gartersnake, Gartersnake, Garter snake, Garter

Basic description

Most adult common gartersnakes are about 18-26 inches (46-66 cm) in total length. These are slender snakes with three thin light-colored stripes running the length of the body. Adults have a background color of black, greenish brown, tan, or gray with one stripe running down the middle of the back and one stripe running along each side. The stripes are typically yellow, green, brown, blue, or white. However, some individuals may lack stripes. A dark checkerboard pattern may be visible along the sides of the body between the back and side stripes. The eyes are large and prominent. The coloration of juveniles is similar to adults.

Range in Florida

Common gartersnakes are found throughout mainland Florida in every county, and there is one record from the Florida Keys.

Assessment of risk to people and pets

Non-venomous. Common gartersnakes are not dangerous to people or pets, but they will readily bite to defend themselves. These snakes are not aggressive and avoid direct contact with people and pets. Virtually all bites occur when the snakes are intentionally molested.

Comparison with other species

Eastern ribbonsnake
Photo courtesy of Luke Smith.

Eastern ribbonsnake (Thamnophis saurita)


Share your observations

You can help scientists better understand the biology and distribution of this species by sharing your observations. Send photos or videos of interesting observations, along with associated information, by emailing the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum for documentation in the Museum’s Herpetology Master Database. You can also post your observations on iNaturalist.

Additional helpful information

Do you have snakes around your house? Learn how to safely co-exist with snakes.

Still have questions about snakes or identifications? Feel free to email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum with your questions or feedback on this profile.

Banner photo courtesy of Noah Mueller. Please credit any photographers on the page and see our copyright policy.