Species group: Garter and Ribbon Snakes
Scientific name: Thamnophis marcianus
The Checkered Garter Snake is native to the southern United States, where it likes to live near permanent bodies of water such as streams and ponds. There are three recognized subspecies of Thamnophis marcianus.
The Checkered Garter Snake is common in the exotic pet trade, and typically makes a hardy captive animal. Captive breeding, while not common, is being done and albino variants are being produced. In captivity, the Checkered Garter Snake is considered to be one of the easiest Garter Snakes to tame. They rarely bite, and when stressed, will musk - releasing a smelly liquid.
Appearance / health:
The Checkered Garter Snake is typically green in color and has a distinct, black checkerboard pattern down its back. It can grow to 42 inches, but a length of 28 inches is more common.
Their diet includes small frogs, toads, small fish, earthworms, and if trained small mice or fish fillet.
robust appetite, perfect beginner snake, educational pet, vivid colors, interesting pet
bites, occasional skin infections, musky yuck, squeamish crickets, wild garter
small frogs toads, aspen shavings
Garter Snakes are great beginner pets.
My 4 garter snakes were exciting pets to have. They were very active for a snake. The loved exploring and hunting for food almost all day long.
What made these guys especially easy to care for was they would eat goldfish! I would add a few to their water dish every couple days and they were happy and healthy as could be. At the time I was keeping fancy dumbo rats as pets so I didn't want to feed my snakes rats or mice... (I would have had more than enough rats to feed my snakes for years! But I was too soft... ha) So goldfish were the perfect solution. The goldfish idea was not planned. The snakes lifted the lid off their cage one day and got into my fish tank and ate all my fish! Well except one big fat Oscar they couldn't swallow.) So then I started buying them goldfish.
One downside was the snakes did put off a gross scent when they were nervous. It was not too strong, but if you held them while they were nervous, your hands smelt weird until you washed them.
Another down side is they aren't the neatest colored snake available. However, their patterns are really cool.
Overall, these snakes were very hardy and easy to take care of..
From hroney Sep 15 2015 11:13PM
Fun and interesting pet
My family bred and raised checkered garter snakes for most of my childhood. They were a great educational and entertaining pet.
Garter snakes aren't usually particularly shy. They're easy to catch in the wild and don't mind being handled. Cleo was a particularly laid back snake since she was handled daily by three kids. Garters also eat fish which makes feeding fascinating. We bred guppies to be the snakes' food source. Garters stay relatively small, so they don't require a huge aquarium. Cleo was one of our larger garters and she reached about two feet with a girth about the size of my thumb. They don't need much in the way of environment either. We filled our aquariums with aspen shavings and a few rocks. Garters stay on the ground most of the time, under the water bowl or under rocks. They don't require a big heat lamp - a small heat rock will suffice for most garters.
If you breed garters, newborns can be nippy. Their bites are insignificant (like being pinched), but it can be startling. Our garters also got occasional skin infections that looked like bumps under the scales. It is easy to treat, but it means you need to have a vet contact that knows how to treat snakes..
From SJtehFox Jan 30 2014 11:44AM