Florida's Snakes thumbnail photo of snake identification guide cover

Common Gartersnake
(Thamnophis sirtalis)


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Blotched  AND

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Common Gartersnake (color variations)

Photo of brownish Common Gartersnake with yellow-tan stripe and black blotches

photo of grayish olive common gartersnake with black blotches, whitish side stripes, and distinct yellowish stripe down spine

 Photos by  Dr. Steve A. Johnson (UF). These photos may not be used without the express written permission of the photographer


Usually 1.5–2 ft. (max. ~4 ft.)


Body is blotched and striped and is usually olive-brown to black; head is gray, olive, or black. Body is marked with three yellowish stripes that may be faint or absent in some individuals. Side stripes may be bluish-white in individuals from the Big Bend area of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Each side is marked between stripes with two rows of dark blotches, like a checkerboard, that may partly cover the stripes. Scales have obvious lengthwise ridges (keels). It is sometimes mistaken for the venomous Pygmy Rattlesnake but is thinner and has round eye pupils. This snake gives birth to live young (does not lay eggs).


Found throughout Florida in somewhat open areas near fresh water, including edges of marshes, swamps, streams, rivers, ponds, canals, and ditches in pinelands, cypress swamps, forest edges, agricultural areas, and overgrown urban lots.


Earthworms, slugs, insects, tadpoles, fish, frogs, toads, salamanders, mice

map showing that common gartersnakes are found throughout Florida

Map by Monica E. McGarrity - may be used freely for education.

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