What Do Garden Snakes Eat and Why Garter Is Your Garden’s Best Friend?


Are you the kind of person who is always confused when it comes to garden snakes and garter snakes? The good news is you are not alone. A lot of people fall in that category. The difference is nothing! A Garden snake is the same as a garter snake. It is one and the same snake species whose names can be used interchangeably. Surprised? I thought so. A garter snake can be found in the garden reason why it is referred to as a garden snake. Be confident as you use the two names because you are not wrong.

Understanding Garden snakes

Garter snakes are striped with checkered patterns making them quite conspicuous. Interestingly these snakes give birth to live babies meaning they never lay eggs. They can give birth to almost fifty babies all at once! How fascinating! Garden snakes are usually about 18 to 26 inches long. However, the male species is normally longer and also thicker compared to the female species. These snakes can be found in the garden, in ditches, farms, in the woods, amongst others. These garden snake eat anything from insects to mice and bird eggs. They are constantly crawling in the ground or swimming, looking for garden snake food. However, they are not the climbing type.

Are they dangerous?

Usually referred to as the gardener’s friend, garter snakes tend to be peaceful though they may end up wrecking havoc in your garden. These shy creatures can keep your garden clear from any pests, for they consume each of them. Garter snake food is present in your garden; that is why you will find them inhabiting such places. As they continue to grow in their lifetime, garden snakes shed their skin as it continues to get small.  


As mentioned earlier, garter snakes are pretty friendly. They only bite when provoked. Nevertheless, they have mild venom, which causes minimal effects on humans. Be cautious not to make garter snakes feel threatened because if they do, they will bite. If a garter snake bites you, the most you can get is an infection. If the bite is left untreated by a medical professional, it can lead to significant health issues.

A garter snake bite calls for medical attention, and a garden snake bite is no different. Yes, it may not be a venomous snake, but it is always good to clear the air regarding your health. A medical practitioner will give you better treatment when you have a garden snake bite to help you get back to your usual self.

The life of garden snakes

A garter snake will live up to ten years though it matures after around two years. It is ordinarily active throughout the year during summer and winter. They can be found in any weather because they adapt quickly to changing weather patterns. During winter, these snakes assemble in considerable numbers in crevices for warmth. If you are looking for garter snakes, you might spot them around grassy and wet areas. They also love tall grass so that they can hide as they hunt for their prey. Their mating is usually during springtime. These garter snake eat food present in your yard, mostly being animals that are a nuisance.

Different types of garter snakes

You’re mistaken if you thought garden snakes are a single species of snakes. There is a good number of garden snakes out there such that we cannot exhaust all of them. We will look into a few to help you identify one.

1.      Bluestripe Garter Snake

This is one of the subspecies of the garter snake having blue highlighter stripes. They are a beauty to behold. The blue stripes start from the top and come down to the sides of the body. This particular species does not grow that bring. Its maximum length usually is between 18 to 26 inches.

2.      Common Garter Snake

Common garter snakes are species present in North America, though also found in other areas. This is a unique species of garter snakes because they are about 13 other subspecies. It gets even more interesting! Each of the 13 subspecies comes with an exclusive pattern and color. The common garden snakes have a back color base or a gray one. You will also notice a cream longitude stripe. The common garter snakes grow to around two feet lengthwise though others can go up to four feet.

3.      Albino Garter Snake

Garter snake species keep getting interesting. I bet you didn’t know they have an albino type. Here you are, thinking albinism is only found in humans! Come on!!! Now, this snake is what is termed as a genetic color morph snake present in wild species. If you happen to see this snake in your garden, you are fortunate because they are rare. The albinism in this species comes from a reptile collection bred from a combination of plain and checkered garter snakes. Indeed, it is a very rare type. What makes the albino garter snakes peculiar is the color because the size and pattern do not differ from the other species. Their colors are a combination of yellow, white, peach, cream, and orange with outstanding pink albino eyes.

4.      Checkered Garter Snake

This is an easy-to-identify snake species because it comes with a checkerboard pattern. Additionally, it has an almost olive to tan base color, having a unique bright vertebral stripe. The checkered pattern has dark and light markings making it extremely special. You will also notice dark stripes on this snake right below the eyes. Checkered garter snakes are not too small, but they are not too big either. They can grow to about 1 ½ feet long, but they can reach around 3 feet with some years of growth.

5.      Eastern Garter Snake

It is called the Eastern garter snake because of its presence in the Eastern United States. Well, this is another notable species because it has different colors and patterns determined from the region the snake is found. The pattern usually varies from spots to blotches and stripes, while the colors can be gold, cream, blue or yellow. Some come with one longitudinal stripe noticeable along the spine. The Eastern garter snake can grow to reach a length of 18 to 26 inches.

Benefits of a garter snake in your garden

When you are certain that the snake you found in your garden is a garter snake, you have nothing to fret about. It is not an absurd idea to attract such a snake to your garden or wanting it to stay. Several benefits come with having garden snakes which are;

  • They are an ideal pest control solution. Garden snakes can never give small mammals and other pests room to reign in your garden.
  • Garter snakes are harmless to you. You will not have to worry about dying due to venom from a snake bite.
  • These snakes are pretty friendly hence an excellent companion to have around.


Have you found a garter snake in your garden and contemplating whether to kill it or not? Let that snake be. It will not harm you. On the contrary, it is very beneficial to your garden. Understand that garter snakes are your friends and not foes. The moment that gets to your mind, you will not have any worries walking in your garden. What is remarkable about garden snakes is they are non-poisonous. They are not life-threatening. You may not be fun of snakes but trust me; you will love having the garden snake in your yard.

Frequently Asked Questions

Snakes can make you raise a lot of questions. Let’s look at the most common questions.

  1. Can a snake be kept as a pet?

The world we live in has all kinds of people, each with their own personalities. As such, you will find some people keeping snakes for pets. It may not happen with you, but the fact is some people keep snakes for pets.

  • If you cut a snake in half, will it die?

It may or not. Indeed, once you cut the snake, it will die, but if that specific species has a slow metabolism, it may take time before it dies.

  • Is there a snake whose bite kills fastest?

Yes, the Black Mamba. It is referred to as the deadliest snake in the world, whose bite can kill a human in thirty minutes.

  • Are snakes during the day?

Not all of them. Some are active in the mornings while others when the sun goes down. It will also depend on the season because some like to sleep at night and are pretty active during the day and vice versa.

  • Which temperatures can snakes not survive?

Significant temperature can make snakes inactive, making them sluggish. Temperatures below 60 degrees° can be too much for snakes to withstand.