Thamnophis sirtalis similis
IUCN Status: Undetermined
Garter snakes, like all snakes, are carnivorous. Their diet consists of almost any creature they are capable of overpowering: slugs, earthworms, leeches, lizards, amphibians (including frog eggs), minnows, and rodents.
The zoo has successfully bred this species many times. The young are born live at about 10cms in length and grow very quickly.
We have a colony of 20 or more of this species with an exhibit in the encounter zone holding our beeding adults. In time we hope to create a garter gulch exhibit outside and allow these snakes to brumate through our winter.
This sub-species of garter snake is only found in Florida along the Gulf coast in pine & cypress forest, prairies and marshes of the region.
This is a very rare species to find in captivity. Like our grass snake they can exude a pungent smell from a gland in the cloaca. They brumate which is a reptile equivalent to hibernation in mammals.
Like other garter snakes this is a terrestrial and diurnal species. Heavy rains often cause them to be found on roads at night as they become more active in their search for food. As with all species of garter snakes they brumate in what is called a hibernaculum where many hundreds of snakes gather and go torpid during winter.