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What Snake: Black, Red Stripe Down Back, Yellow Diamond Pattern?

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Frances Bott answered
It sounds like it could be a Garter snake, but it's difficult to know for sure without knowing more about it; such as where you saw it and how big it is.

• Where Garter snakes can be found
Garter snakes are quite common and can found in Canada and the United States, from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts.

• Description of Garter snakes
A garter snake is usually between 60 and 80 cm in length (24 to 31 inches), though there have been some that have been known to be over 135 cms (53 inches). They can have a variety of colors, from green to grey to black, and, in the majority of cases, have very noticeable stripes.

There are some sub-species of Garter snakes, and the colorings of these are also variable.

Because of its color and patterns, the Garter snake is quite able to blend into its surroundings so sometimes they are quite difficult to spot. 

• Garter babies
Unlike some other snakes that lay eggs, Garter snakes give birth to live young. This happens in late summer, with between 20 and 40 babies in a litter, although there it has been known for a litter of 98 to be born.

• Are Garter snakes dangerous?
Garter snakes are docile creatures whose first instinct in the presence of a predator, including people, is to hide. They play a vital role in the eco system because they eat, amongst other things, frogs, worms and mice. In turn, they make an ideal food for some birds and mammals, such as the red-shouldered hawk, which feeds its own young on Garter snakes.

If a garter snake is cornered it may put on an aggressive performance but will only bite if it is picked up, it will also release a musky liquid that is foul smelling.

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