Scientific name: Thamnophis elegans elegans
Common name: Mountain Garter Snake
Size: 15-24 in (39-61 cm)
Distinguishing characters: A slender species; black or dark grey-brown dorsum; yellow, orange, or white mid-dorsal and side stripes; pale yellowish or white venter; dorsal scales keeled; red tongue.
Juveniles: Similar to adults.
Dimorphism: Female has extemely constricted tail immediately posterior to vent.
Similar species: Thamnophis hammondii: Lacks mid-dorsal stripe. Thamnophis sirtalis: Has red lateral blotches; does not occur above 1,000 meters in our area. Salvadora hexalepis: Has enlarged thickened triangular rostral scale and black tongue. Lampropeltis getula (striped): Lacks keeled scales and red tongue.
Additional notes: A montane species. Some individuals lack continous mid-dorsal stripe which can be limited to nape only. Excretes foul smelling musk when handled.
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Last update: 05 March 2003