Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)
Sub-order Serpentes, Family Colubridae
Thamnophis s. sirtalis
Photo of Eastern Gartersnake courtesy of John White
18 - 26 inches. Record - 48¾ inches.
Close-up Photo of Eastern Gartersnake courtesy of Corey Wickliffe
Common in a variety of habitats including forests, meadows, old fields, riparian areas, freshwater marshes, ditches and backyards. Some source of moisture is usually nearby.
How to Find
Spend enough time in the outdoors and you will encounter this common diurnal snake. Look particularly along wetland edges. A fairly aggressive snake, they readily strike and bite. If handled they will release a foul smelling musk. Non-venomous, though a few allergic reactions to bites have been reported.
Photo of Habitat for Eastern Gartersnake courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
Distribution in Maryland
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"
For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.
The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.