The Eastern Garter Snake

The Eastern Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) is a harmless snake commonly found in Virginia, and also known as the Official State Snake of Virginia. The garter snake is a moderate-sized snake reaching a maximum total length of 48.7 inches. In Virginia, the maximum known length is 35.6 inches, and a maximum total length of 43.3 inches.


What do Garter Snakes look like?

Identifying garter snakes is relatively easy as they have distinguishable stripes. Garter snakes have a wide variety of colors depending on the species, but most have three longitudinal stripes — one in the center of the back and one on each lower side of the body.

Garter Snakes in Virginia


Eastern Garter Snake Biology

The Eastern Garter snakes can be found in many types of habitats, including hardwood and pine forests; lowland and upland grasslands and balds; abandoned fields in various stages of succession; along the margins of creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes; agricultural and urban areas; and freshwater marshes. Garter snakes can also be found in suburban gardens and around barns and houses. Gartner snakes can be found at any time of the year, but the highest activity occurs between March-November.

Fun Fact: The Eastern Gartersnake is harmless, but it sure is feisty! In fact, a garter snake will sometimes flatten its head and body and strike if bothered. Young garter snakes will perform this behavior and will strike so forcefully that they may completely leave the ground. Adults will also spray musk from glands located at the base of the tail, and sometimes emit feces in attempts to discourage predators.

Are Garter Snakes Dangerous?

Garter snakes are among the most common snakes in North America. Often kept as pets, they are relatively harmless, although some species do possess a mild neurotoxic venom. However, it is not dangerous to humans.

While most species are classified as harmless (non-venomous), a bite from a garter snake can cause minor swelling or itching in humans.  If you’ve been bitten by a garter snake you should clean the bite thoroughly to avoid infection. It is not ultimately a cause for concern unless you have severe allergies.

Garter Snake Removal

If you’ve discovered a garter snake problem in or around your home, the best course of action is to call a snake and wildlife removal specialist to remove the snake. Our snake control experts are available with services throughout the state of Virginia. Our team will trap and remove all snake problems – safely and humanely.

We remove snakes in holes on your property, living among hedges, nesting in a crawlspace, or nesting in your garden.
If snakes are a problem for you, don’t wait to give us a call. The longer you let snakes invade your property, the more danger you potentially face. Contact us now for more information about our garter snake control services.