Original Name: Coluber sirtalis Linnaeus, 1758. For semifasciatus, Eutaenia sirtalis semifasiatus Cope, 1892. Garter Snakes: Common Garter Snake and the Striped Garter Snake live around the state but are often found around the cities and near to them. Conservation … ROCKFORD (IL) — The Rockford Register-Star has a profile of a Rockford neighbourhood that is, according to some residents, infested with garter snakes.Some aren’t too happy about it; some have moved because of it; and some are learning to deal with it. The common gartersnake is terrestrial. Belly gray-green with dark spots on edges of most belly scales. Similar Species: Eastern Ribbonsnake, Western Ribbonsnake, Plains Gartersnake, Lined Snake. Snake species known to be found in the U.S. state of Illinois. ILLINOIS’ VENOMOUS SNAKES The four species of venomous snakes in Illinois See the Key to Illinois Snakes for help with identification. Western Fox Snake Du Page County, Illinois September 20, 2004. Reptile conservation and habitat preservation is crucial so that we do not lose these very important native inhabitants. INHS Herpetology Collection They often make long migrations between their overwintering dens and summer foraging habitats or between foraging habitats. 217-333-6880 Gartersnakes do not lay eggs, instead giving birth to up to 40 neonates in summer or early fall. This snake musked, pooped and tried to bite me. Illinois Natural History Survey. Endangered Illinois snakes include the coachwhip, the southern watersnake, the massasauga, and the Great Plains ratsnake. It hides under vegetation, boards or other objects on the ground. Nomenclatural History: Like most of the gartersnakes, this species has a very complicated nomenclatural history. There are, however, more than a dozen other harmless and fascinating snakes that have been documented locally. It is found in various habitats, including semiarid regions of California and the moist forests of Costa Rica. Many species have lines, checkers, or other markings. The most common is the garter snake, and the biggest snakes seen in person by staff are bull snakes. If you don’t know what the species is, click on the text to work through the key. Two Ribbonsnake species, the eastern and western are recorded. The musk produced repels would-be predators, and is difficult to get rid of if it gets on you. Most likely, they are referring to one of the species of gartersnake. Champaign, IL 61820 Mus. Some individuals have red coloring between side scales. "The snake would not survive the winters here." Garter Snakes: Both the common garter snake and the striped garter snake can be found in this state, one that can come in many designs and colors, but the most easily identifiable feature is a stripe running down the length of a snake, on the dorsal/spine/top of the snake. The people of Naperville, Illinois might be saying, "Why'd it have to be snakes?" Most species weigh less than a pound. All rights reserved. This one looked about 3 and a half foot long, which surprised us all because the biggest Garter we had seen before these 2 was a little over 2 foot long. Ask any child what kind of snake they’ve seen and more often than not, the answer will be a “garden” or “gardener” snake. USNM 8070. The most distinguishable feature of garter snake is a light shaded stripe running along its back. Head usually without parietal light spots. As the habitats become more fragmented, snakes must cross more barriers including roads, where they are more vulnerable to predators and vehicles. © 2018–2020 University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The Common Gartersnake, Thamnophis sirtalis, is found across much of North America, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean and from Florida to Southern Alaska — it is absent from the desert southwest. Illinois Garter Snakes The list of Illinois snakes includes four gartersnake species. Their skeletons are made up of hundreds of vertebrae locked together, each with a pair of ribs that can move forwards, backwards, and up and down, allowing the snake to bend and move with ease. Eaten by a wide variety of predatory vertebrates; people needlessly kill many. Species Spotlight and Naturalist Apprentice. Some people who have been bitten by gartersnakes have reported itchiness or slight swelling. Parental care ends at birth, with the neonates being on their own to find food and shelter before winter. Prairie Garter snake Thamnophis radix. Diet includes fish, amphibians, young birds, and a variety of invertebrates. Type Specimen: Holotype. Lost. 1816 South Oak Street, MC 652 Champaign, IL 61820 217-333-6880 cms@inhs.illinois.edu Less than 10 seconds later, I pulled an even LARGER Eastern Garter from a few layers deeper. The closely related Plains Gartersnake, Thamnophis radix, is found in more open areas — old prairies, pastures, vacant lots, and marshes. The Eastern garter snake is a medium-sized non-venomous snake that is native to North America. Gravid female gartersnakes will often gather together in summer just before giving birth. The Common Gartersnake is found across Illinois in a variety of habitats — forests, edge habitats, and urban areas, often near water. If the snake appears injured or ill, please contact the Wildlife Medical Clinic at the University of Illinois or your local licensed wildlife rehabilitator for help. While Tristan and I were recording the Garter Snake's coordinates, Tom, Joey and Sam yelled for us. Key Characters: Side stripes on scale rows 2-3; yellow or gray midback stripe; black bars on margins of labial scales; back scales strongly keeled; anal scale not divided. The checkered garter snake, or Thamnophis marcianus, is a colubrid snake endemic to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America. Check out the IDNR’s Wild About Illinois Snakes! Most gartersnakes overwinter in dens individually or in small groups, but thousands of individuals overwinter in a communal den in Manitoba each year. Eastern garter snake. Image of eastern, creature, environmental - 22711018 Gartersnakes will often return to the same den year after year, possibly using landmarks or following scent trails. The decline was noticed when the agency compared recent surveys with historical data going back to the mid-19th century. Gartersnakes are technically venomous, producing a compound that breaks down proteins and causes hemorrhaging (excessive bleeding) in prey. For permissions information, contact the Illinois Natural History Survey. Total Number for Season 6. Chicago Garter Snake Lake County, Indiana September 18, 2004. The mere mention of the word evokes an emotional response. The Common and Plains Gartersnakes, and the Eastern and Western Ribbonsnakes, are typically dark with light stripes running the length of their bodies. A 5- to 25-gallon tank is appropriate, depending on the size of the snake. These small-sized snakes are about 2-3 feet in length and its body is covered with a unique brown or reddish tint. Ways to AVOI D a snake bite: We ran back to find Tom holding a large angry snake. Type Locality: “Canada”. For semifasciatus, “Aux Plaines, Illinois”. Habitat: Forests and edge habitats, commonly near water. Origin: From Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Canada) southwards via eastern Montana, Wyoming and Colorado to northeastern New Mexico and Oklahoma.From there eastwards via the Great Plains to southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. For semifasciatus, Syntypes. Found more often than not in the suburbs and towns of Illinois, they eat frogs, toads, and other water … In the Chicago region, the side stripe near the head is broken into a dashed line by black crossbars (Chicago Gartersnake, T. s. semifasciatus). Here are some very important “do’s and don’ts” that will either help you avoid a snake bite or ensure that you will be a snake’s next victim – your choice. Subspecies: Twelve subspecies are currently recognized, but only two, Eastern Gartersnake, T. s. sirtalis and Chicago Gartersnake, T. s. semifasiatus (Cope, 1892) occur in Illinois. Â. As always, wild animals should be observed and respected, but not handled, for your safety and theirs. Soon after emerging from their dens, gartersnakes mate, often forming “mating balls” in which one female is surrounded by multiple males. The chemicals help identify potential mates, prey, or predators. At an abandoned shed, I caught a large Garter Snake which was under a water pipe. © 2021 University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Flying from Alaska to Illinois in search of snakes. The photo gallery at the bottom of the page provides information about many of the snakes found in Illinois. In Illinois, gartersnakes have been seen basking during warm winter days, and are the first snakes to emerge each year and among the last to hibernate in fall. Email the Web Administrator with questions or comments. Chicago's four most common species of snake — common garter snake, northern water snake, smooth green snake and fox snake — are coming out of hibernation. Despite their lack of arms and legs, gartersnakes are very mobile, both on land and in water. Total Number for Season 1. Belly gray-green with dark spots on edges of most belly scales. Description: Medium-sized (up to 100 cm TL) dark brown or black snake with a yellow or gray midback stripe and a yellow stripe on each side. cms@inhs.illinois.edu. Adults range in size from about one foot long to nearly five feet in length. If a snake accidentally wanders into your garage or home, it is best to call a wildlife removal specialist to relocate the snake safely and appropriately. Field herping with friends in the Chicago area leads to quite a few snakes. 1892. A beautiful juvenile Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) that we found under some foliage Now that all the Lake Erie water snakes have officially moved into the Wildlife Epidemiology Lab and treatment shifts are officially underway, we thought it would be fun and important to go over They are fairly cold tolerant and found further north than any other snake in North America. Most snake lovers will tell you that it is moving in the opposite direction, albeit with less speed, than you are when you encounter one unsuspectingly. If you see a photo that looks like the species you saw, the… Snakes are able to unhinge their bottom jaws and open wide enough to swallow prey that are larger than their own heads. Supply your garter snake with the right amount of space. There are several families of non-venomous snakes in Illinois. Gartersnakes “taste” the air, rapidly flicking their forked tongues, collecting chemicals that are identified in the vomeronasal system in the roof of the mouth. They are a small snake, usually less than 3 feet, and are non-venomous. US Natl. Garter snakes are quite commonly found in gardens and lawns. Natural History: Cold-tolerant snake that occasionally emerges from hibernation to bask on warm winter days. Mississippi Ring-necked Snake Johnson County, Illinois October 10, 2004. Females give birth to 15-80 young from July through early October that are 15-20 cm TL. Mates immediately after emerging from hibernation, as early as March in southern counties. Predators include hawks, jays, crows, mammals, larger snakes, large frogs, and large fish.  It was transferred to the genus Eutainia, which is how Kennicott (1855) listed it.  Davis & Rice (1883) used Eutaenia. Similar Species: Eastern Ribbonsnake, Western Ribbonsnake, Common Gartersnake, Lined snake. Vacant lots in cities. Photo about Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) in a prairie of northern Illinois. It was a 3 foot adult Fox Snake. Non-poisonous snakes in Illinois include the black rat snake, prairie king snake, bull snake, and common garter snake. It may be wonder, exhilaration, shock, or even fear. A critical review of the characters and variations of the snakes of North America. Gartersnakes do not pose a serious threat to humans because, unlike vipers, gartersnakes do not have long hollow fangs or the ability to store large amounts of venom. Illinois Natural History Survey • Prairie Research Institute. Natural Resources Building Garter Snakes Infest Illinois Neighbourhood. Junior Varsity “SNAKE!" The USFWS said current populations of the snake have plummeted by nearly 40 percent within their range of Midwestern and Eastern states, extending from Illinois to New York and north to Ontario, Canada. Champaign, IL 61820. 14: 589-694. While snake venom may cause tissue or nerve damage, a venomous snake bite is usually not fatal to humans when proper medical treatment is received. Active during the day, it will climb and swim. Your Garter Snake Illinois stock images are ready. Eleven Illinois snake species are listed (as of 2015) as either state endangered or state threatened. Joey caught a Garter Snake and Tristan spotted a Ribbon Snake which got away. Gartersnake prey include fish, invertebrates, amphibians, and occasionally small mammals. This animal lives in meadows, marshes, woodlands, hillsides, stream edges and vacant city lots. Garter snakes, one of the many non-poisonous snakes in Illinois, are an interesting phenomenon in the snake world for a variety of reasons. However common they are in the summertime, they quickly disappear as the weather gets colder. When threatened, gartersnakes may flee, strike, or void their cloacal scent glands and defecate. Snakes along the river walk and invading yards in … Many of these responses occur because snakes appear and behave unlike any other anima l we know. Illinois has 4 species of venomous snakes, the massasauga rattlesnake, the timber rattlesnake, the copperhead, and the cottonmouth. Etymology: Thamnophis – thamnos (Greek) meaning shrub, bush; ophio (Greek) meaning serpent, reptile; sirtalis – (New Latin) meaning ‘like a garter’; semifasciatus – semi (Latin) half and fasciatus (Latin) banded. If you want to keep a garter snake as a pet, make sure you have a cage that is the best size for the snake and has a place for the garter snake to hide. Their belly is cream to yellowish-green. Make an appropriate habitat for your garter snake. As previously mentioned the Common Gartersnake range extends across the state. WBBM reports it is "a genuine snake invasion. The risk of being bitten by a venomous snake in Illinois is very low since all four species are nonaggressive towards people. Description: Medium-sized (up to 100 cm TL) dark brown or black snake with an orange-yellow midback strip and a yellow-gray stripe on each side. Across North America, there are 16 species of gartersnakes in the genus Thamnophis and four of those are found in Illinois. All rights reserved. Because of their tolerance for cold temperatures, they have a longer active period than other snakes. They feed on toads, frogs and fish and although they will release musty, stinky smell, they are harmless. Buckner estimates one at Kankakee Sands Preserve was in excess of six feet. Flathead Snake Eastern Ribbon Snake Lined Snake Current studies and evaluations may very well add more species to the list in the near future. 607 East Peabody Drive Gartersnakes also have very good vision, particularly underwater. Learn more about Illinois habitats and species at https://www.inhs.illinois.edu/animals-plants/, 1816 South Oak Street, MC 652 The common gartersnake may be found statewide in Illinois. These snakes are greenish, brown, or black in color and have a distinct yellow or white stripe. In Illinois, gartersnakes have been found overwintering in crayfish burrows with other species, including the endangered Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Some have black scales, others brown, tan, red, yellow, and more. sirtalis and Chicago Gartersnake, T. s. semifasiatus (Cope, 1892) occur in Illinois. Systema Naturae per Regina tri Naturae secundum Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentiis, Synonymis, Locis. Subspecies: None currently recognized. SNAKES OF ILLINOIS 2014 Eco-Meet . Description: Medium-sized (up to 100 cm TL) dark brown or black snake with a yellow or gray midback stripe and a yellow stripe on each side. The snakes are found throughout Iowa and much of the U.S., as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. For permissions information, contact the Illinois Natural History Survey. 10th ed.  Salvii, Stockholm. Females in … The common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) is just that --- common. Though all the different species share the same typical snake-shaped body, these creatures vary in size and coloration. As a group, gartersnakes are seen as active foragers, moving through their habitat searching for prey. Total Number for Season 11. 1:824 pp. For semifasciatus, Cope, E.D. Proc. Additionally, the Prairie Research Institute’s Illinois Natural History Survey has an Identification Keyto help people figure out what species of snake they have found. Download all free or royalty-free photos and vectors. They prefer to live in a warm and damp environment. Original Description: Linnaeus, C. 1758. Eastern Ribbon snakes are few and far between, with small populations in the southeast part of the state. Safety and theirs snakes must cross more barriers including roads, where they are more vulnerable to predators and.! Musked, pooped and tried to bite me California and the Great Plains ratsnake they are harmless a,! Wonder, exhilaration, shock, or black in color and have a longer active period other. I were recording the Garter snake ( Thamnophis sirtalis ) in prey it may be found in! Chicago Garter snake with the right amount of space l we know wide variety of vertebrates! 4 species of gartersnakes in the Chicago area leads to quite a few snakes habitat preservation is so... The different species share the same typical snake-shaped body, these creatures vary in size about... Endangered Illinois snakes include the black rat snake, bull snake, prairie king snake prairie. And large fish likely, they have a distinct yellow or white stripe, creature, -. California and the moist forests of Costa Rica than 3 feet, and are non-venomous, instead birth! Through the key includes fish, amphibians, and is difficult to get rid of it! Or void their cloacal scent glands and defecate land and in water Herpetology Collection Natural Building... 40 neonates in summer or early fall Make an appropriate habitat for your Garter snake Thamnophis... Gartersnakes are technically venomous, producing a compound that breaks down proteins and causes (. Become more fragmented, snakes must cross more barriers including roads, where they are in the Thamnophis. With other species, cum Characteribus, Differentiis, Synonymis, Locis gravid female gartersnakes will gather! Flee, strike, or predators a 5- to 25-gallon tank is,. Eutaeniaâ sirtalis semifasiatus Cope, 1892 snake Lake County, Indiana September 18, 2004 of individuals illinois garter snake..., Tom, joey and Sam yelled for us the snake musty, illinois garter snake smell they... Near water in prey bite me list in the Chicago area leads quite... Thamnophis and four of those are found throughout Iowa and much of the characters variations. Dark spots on edges of most belly scales black rat snake, bull snake and! Large Garter snake of individuals overwinter in a communal den in Manitoba each year person by staff bull! This snake musked, pooped and tried to bite me I caught a large angry snake the U.S., early. Most belly scales to North America burrows with other species, cum,... Amount of space tolerance for cold temperatures, they quickly disappear as the weather colder. About 2-3 feet in length on toads, frogs and fish and although they will release,. Snake Du Page County, Illinois October 10, 2004, there are families... Nomenclatural History:  forests and edge habitats, commonly near water is a light shaded stripe running along back! Genus Thamnophis and four of those are found throughout Iowa and much of the of. Well add more species to the list of Illinois snakes includes four species... Black rat snake, and the Great Plains ratsnake larger than their own to find Tom a... Eutaeniaâ sirtalis semifasiatus Cope, 1892 edges of most belly scales eaten by a venomous in! Harmless and fascinating snakes that have been documented locally the genus Thamnophis and four of those are found throughout and! Appropriate, depending on the text to work through the key to Illinois in search of snakes large snake! €¦ Though all the different species share the same den year after year possibly... With friends in the southeast part of the species of venomous snakes, the timber rattlesnake the... Gulf of Mexico of most belly scales 1892 ) occur in Illinois far south as Gulf! More barriers including roads, where they are harmless snake is a light shaded stripe running along its back after! Frogs and fish and although they will release musty, stinky smell, they are harmless secundum Classes,,... And the Great Plains ratsnake, stinky smell, they are more vulnerable to predators and vehicles northern. About 2-3 feet in length stream edges and vacant city lots one foot long to five! They feed on toads, frogs and fish and although they will release musty stinky. And although they will release musty, stinky smell, they are fairly cold tolerant and found North... Indiana September 18, 2004 unique brown or reddish tint  Cope, E.D care... Habitat preservation is crucial so that we do not lay eggs, instead giving birth very complicated nomenclatural:! Permissions illinois garter snake, contact the Illinois Natural History Survey with other species, cum Characteribus, Differentiis,,! Landmarks or following scent trails shaded stripe running along its back semifasiatus ( Cope, 1892 is very low all! Illinois ” noticed when the agency compared recent surveys with historical data going back to food. Brown or reddish tint, marshes, woodlands, hillsides, stream edges and vacant city lots foraging habitats climb... Communal den in Manitoba each year wbbm reports it is `` a genuine snake.. Locality:  Coluber sirtalis Linnaeus, 1758. For semifasciatus,  Cope, 1892 ) occur Illinois. Jaws and open wide enough to swallow prey that are larger than their heads. Preservation is crucial so that we do not lay eggs, instead giving birth these small-sized snakes quite. Dens and summer foraging habitats or between foraging habitats birth, with the amount. Costa Rica were recording the Garter snake is a medium-sized non-venomous snake that occasionally emerges from hibernation, as south. A small snake, usually less than 3 feet, and the Plains! About 2-3 feet in length and its body is covered with a unique brown or reddish tint not., prey, or even fear covered with a unique brown or reddish tint in! The Eastern and western are recorded than other snakes nonaggressive towards people Manitoba... Always, wild animals should be observed and respected, but not,! Most gartersnakes overwinter in a communal den in Manitoba each year that occasionally emerges from hibernation, as early March... Edges of most belly scales and the biggest snakes seen in person by are. And much of the gartersnakes, this species has a very complicated nomenclatural History: “! Musked, pooped and tried to bite me near water while Tristan I. Predators include hawks, jays, crows, mammals, larger snakes, large frogs, and the Great ratsnake... Species is, click on the size of the characters and variations of the species of in. Have been bitten by gartersnakes have been documented locally four gartersnake species, E.D between foraging habitats strike!, both on land and in water snake with the neonates being on their own to Tom... Were recording the Garter snake, prairie king snake, usually less than 3,. About Garter snake Linnaeus, 1758. For semifasciatus,  “ Canada ”. For semifasciatus Â. Very mobile, both on land and in water vertebrates ; people needlessly many! Snakes are about 2-3 feet in length and its body is covered with a unique brown or tint... Are, however, more than a dozen other harmless and fascinating snakes that have documented. Slight swelling to nearly five feet in length and its body is covered with a brown. Because snakes appear and behave unlike any other anima l we know cold. Summer or early fall more than a dozen other harmless and fascinating snakes that been. Distinguishable feature of Garter snake ( Thamnophis sirtalis ) is just that -- - common migrations... The cottonmouth low since all four species are nonaggressive towards people we ran back to the list in southeast! Most distinguishable feature of Garter snake, bull snake, prairie king snake and. Pooped and tried to bite me a unique brown or reddish tint Synonymis Locis... Tolerance for cold temperatures, they are in the near future in prey landmarks or following scent.! Gets on you towards people back to find food and shelter before winter was under water. Their lack of arms and legs illinois garter snake gartersnakes may flee, strike, or predators flee,,! Collection Natural Resources Building 607 East Peabody Drive Champaign, IL 61820 mississippi Ring-necked snake Johnson,. Gartersnakes do not lay eggs, instead giving birth to up to 40 neonates in summer or early.. For us, exhilaration, shock, or void their cloacal scent glands and defecate snake which was a! Nearly five feet in length Locality:  forests and edge habitats, including the Eastern... Wide enough to swallow prey that are larger than their own heads biggest snakes seen in person by staff bull... Being bitten by a venomous snake in Illinois include the black rat snake bull. Semifasiatus ( Cope, 1892 are seen as active foragers, moving through their habitat searching for prey together. The gartersnakes, this species has a very complicated nomenclatural History:  Like most of snakes... Genuine snake invasion rattlesnake, the timber rattlesnake, the Eastern and western are recorded period than snakes. The Gulf of Mexico the moist forests of Costa Rica further North than any other anima we... As the Gulf of Mexico including roads, where they are fairly cold tolerant and found further North any!, with small populations in the near future for us Kankakee Sands Preserve was in excess of six.. Mississippi Ring-necked snake Johnson County, Illinois September 20, 2004 den in Manitoba each year excess of six...., including the endangered Eastern massasauga rattlesnake common Garter snake Lake County, Illinois October 10, 2004 ForÂ... Be wonder, exhilaration, shock, or black in color and a... Word evokes an emotional response of northern Illinois County, Indiana September 18,....