Sunday, April 22, 2012

Creature Feature: Blue Garter Snake.

Back in the world of the living, the author of these posts sometimes wonders exactly how people can be afraid of snakes. It's not just her weird definition of 'cute' talking - put simply, exactly how is a bright pink boa terrifying?

Garters are already pretty neat snakes. Along with boas and vipers, they are among the serpents that have live babies. They are the ideal pet snake for someone who hates handling mice; they can eat worms, fish, and other things neither cute nor fuzzy. They have some very mild venom in there, but don't worry about it - it's only toxic to things much smaller than a human.

Oh, and did I mention that they come in electric blue?

There are a number of blue garter snakes, but the most coveted are the Florida bluestripe garters (Thamnophis sirtalis similis). They are native to, go figure, Florida, and are a subspecies of the Common Garter Snake (T. sirtalis). They prefer to eat other aquatic things, e,g. frogs, fish, and worms, as opposed to mice.

Starting with the obvious yet again, no, that snake was not Photoshopped. The bluestripe garter really is electric blue, which is one of the few colors that corn snakes could never manage. They are being selectively bred for more and more blue. Hopefully, the breeders have enough artistic sense that we will eventually end up with electric blue stripes on a velvety black background.

(Not mine.

If you happen to live in Florida, it is possible for you to catch these snakes in your on backyard. It can be found from the Gulf Coast inland. Look for it in pinelands, hammocks, prairies, and marshes - basically, anywhere that isn't urbanized to hell and back. They're not a rare snake at all, and they look awesome.

To a degree, I can understand some people's severe fear of snakes. As a friend of mine aptly pointed out, however, can you really take a snake seriously when it has a bright, multicolored neon display for a color palette? I think bright colors are cool, especially when black is used as contrast. The more ways we herpers have to eliminate the fear of snakes, the better.


  1. Check out the San Francisco garter and the Neon Blue California Red-Sided garter. They're even prettier, imo!

    Also, I thought this would interest you:

  2. I wonder if you can find the FL garter in TX? I saw what looked to be a garter (or ribbon snake) on a walk yesterday that had blue/teal stripes. It was beautiful!

  3. I just saw a beauty under my window and 2 baby lizards heads moved watching it slither under them as they sunbathed on the hose wheele.

  4. It is a Fl snake right in the middle of Fl. Horse country.

  5. I don't live in Florida, but Michigan and found one of these guys hanging out in my mother's garden.

  6. I don't live in Florida, but Michigan and found one of these guys hanging out in my mother's garden.

  7. My daughter is looking to get one with this coloration. Willing to work with someone regarding shipping and price.

  8. I used to look for snakes when i was a kid in upper Michigan. I know one day I saw one zip off in the grass that had a blue line on it. It didn't seem like a blue racer (which I have never for sure seen). It made me think of the Florida blue stripe garter or california garter but of course those wouldn't be up there... so I'm at a loss as to what it was, unless somehow it was a hitchhiker in someone's luggage who was wintering in the south!. :)

    1. I suppose it could have been a blue racer, and i just caught a glimpse of the side of its belly - moving fast it would have looked like the thing was blue striped. But I've never seen another.