Reptoman

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   Jan 24

Western Plains Garter Snake

Western Plains garter snakes are pretty and brightly colored.
When it seemed to us that the sun was so hot that it was baking those Kansas dikes, when all good rattlesnakes and Plains leopard frogs were concealed in the roadside grasses, when we had turned the car’s a/c to its lowest temperature, it was then that the Plains garter snakes, Thamnophis radix haydeni, emerged from shelter to bask on the gravel surface. They didn’t stay long, but bask for a few minutes they did before returning to the grasses, presumably to seek their leopard frog or toad repast. While in some areas the Plains garter snake may be difficult to differentiate from congenerics, on these dikes, with the red-sided garter snake being the only other thamnophine contender, there was no problem separating the two. The strong yellow vertebral stripe, placement of the lateral stripe (scale rows 3 and 4), and black spotting (lips and body) of the Plains garter were definitive. Most seen (20+) were juveniles but a half dozen adults were found.

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