Northwestern Garter Snake
Northwestern Garter Snake

Snakes are an important part of a balanced eco-system. Some snakes, like the Northwestern garter snake, feed on frogs, worms, slugs and salamanders. They themselves are also preyed upon by birds, snakes, skunks, opossums, raccoons along with domestic cats.

Northwestern Garter Snake

In the Waldport, Oregon area, there area two species of snakes: the Northwestern Garter Snake (Thamnophis ordinoides) and the Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). The Northwestern Garter Snake was first noted by the Lewis and Clark Expedition on July 24, 1805 near present-day Townsend, Montana. They earned their name "garter" because they resembled the old-fashioned garter.

The Northwestern garter snake prefers habitats such as moist meadows, edges of thickets and open grassy areas. Being cold-blooded, they come out in the heat of the day to sunbathe. Once spotted, they head to the underbrush for cover.

Red-striped Garter Snake with Banana Slug
Red-striped Garter Snake & Banana Slug

This Red-striped Northwestern Garter Snake circled the Banana Slug and ended up dragging it to a shaded area to eat it. It took the snake a little over 1 hour to eat the slug.

Snake Links

If you are interested in a list of amphibians and reptiles in the state of Oregon, check out Reptiles and Amphibians of Oregon: A Checklist. Also, California Herps is another very informative web site with photos and information.

Amphibian Tunnels

Because amphibians and reptiles often travel across roads to breeding grounds, there is a movement to build these tunnels. Please take time to read the Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network (CARCNET) article on Amphibian Tunnels for detailed information about this important step in preserving our sensitive amphibians and reptiles.