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Reptiles

 

Snakes

Common garter snake, Thamnophis sirtalis.
Common garter snake, Thamnophis sirtalis.

Class: Reptiles
Order: Snakes
Family: Typical snakes

Species found in the Rideau River:
Ringneck snake, rat snake, northern water snake, smooth green snake, redbelly snake, common garter snake

Characteristics of the family:
Found all over the world, the family of typical snakes includes the majority of snake species. All members of this family that are found in Canada are harmless.

Interesting facts:
A snake's tongue smells! No, not as in "odor" -- as in "nose": it is a sensory tool to detect smells.


Representative species: Common garter snake
Description The body is generally brown or black, adorned with yellow or brownish stripes. Around the middle of its body there are 19 scale rows.
Size Maximum length: 1.24 m
Distribution The subspecies found in the Rideau River occupies an area extending from western Quebec to eastern Manitoba.
Habitat In winter, the common garter snake shelters in cracks and fissures under the frost line, where they are sometimes found in thousands.
Food Insects, worms, fish, amphibians and sometimes mice.
Life cycle The common garter snake gives birth to live young, sometimes as many as 85 at one time. As with all snakes, the young are independent from birth and receive no care from their parents.

 

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A Project of the Canadian Museum of Nature
 Images: Canadian Museum of Nature