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(Thamnophis radix)

Picture of a plains garter snake

Area where plains garter snake is found in South Dakota


  • Bright yellow or orange single stripe along the middle of the back
  • Yellow or orange stripe on each side of body on scale rows 3 and 4 (count from belly scales up)
  • Alternating rows of dark spots along each side of body
  • Top of the head is dark
  • Dark vertical bars on upper lips
  • Keeled scales
  • Nonvenomous
  • Diet: frogs and other aquatic vertebrates, insects, earthworms, and small mammals
  • Habitat: open grassland areas near wetlands
  • Distribution: statewide