Friday, June 10, 2011

valley garter snake ~ 06/10/11 ~ Pinnacles

valley garter snake
Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi
(ssp. of common garter snake) 

This swimming snake was a fun find. It amazes me they can use a similar serpentine movement to swim as moving across ground. It was good to revisit garter snake ID, because I found an error in a previous post that I had originally identified as a coast garter snake.

ps 04/01/14 - I had briefly changed the ID to Diablo Range garter snake (Thamnophis atratus zaxanthus), an aquatic garter snake.  However, Diablo do not have red on their sides like this one shows.


Cindy said...

Garters are amazing in water. I think they inflate different sections of their extra long lung to help their buoyancy dynamics while maneuvering in water. Just a guess. Yours look like it has a swollen midbody although it might just be the way water refracts light.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Yep, I read somewhere that snakes can "hold their breath" just like I was taught in swim class to help me float. This one did have a swollen midbody. Now, I want to look up snake anatomy. Cindy, you're a wealth of information.

Cindy said...

I found this book at Phoenix second hand books in San Luis Obispo and it is really good about explaining snake biology in general.: Snakes in Question, The Smithsonian Answer Book, Carl H. Ernst, George R. Zug.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thanks. I'm adding it to my list of recommended books: