Thamnophis radix (Prairie Garter snake)


Origin: From Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Canada) southwards via eastern Montana, Wyoming and Colorado to northeastern New Mexico and Oklahoma. From there eastwards via the Great Plains to southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. Isolated populations are found in western Central Ohio, In Missouri and neighboring Illinois (near St. Louis).

Length: man around 85 cm / women 105-110

Age: between 6 and 10 years old.

Thamnophis radix owes its Dutch name to the longitudinal stripes that resemble one arter. Prairie Garter snakes have three of those stripes: one dorsal stripe and two side stripes. The color of the stripes are yellow black and the belly again yellow.


Experience: Average snake keeper

Food: Live or dead prey. Primary prey given is amphibians, earthworms, insects, mice

Feeding adult: earthworms, insects, mice. 2 times a week.

Feed young: cut into small pieces, rain worms, freshwater fish, insects. Almost every other day.

Water basin: Yes

Change water: 3 times a week


There is a choice to offer prey alive or dead. It is advisable to offer dead food. This is because it is more practical and prevents the food animal from injuring your snake. It is advised to offer the food animal with a pair of tongs and to feed your snake outside the residence. This ensures that your hand is not associated with food and prevents you from taking a snake at your hand during feeding. If you go for live food, you must supervise it during feeding. this is because when two snakes use the same prey suits, they can injure each other and sometimes even eat each other. The ideal prey is about as wide as the widest part of the snake.


A large water basin, which can accommodate all hoses at the same time, serves as a drinking and bathing place and sometimes also as a toilet. make sure that the water is refreshed when it is dirty. They also drink that water.


A hygienic environment is important to keep your Thamnophis healthy. To achieve this, the accommodation will have to be cleaned regularly. Cleaning once a week is enough. In addition, to prevent the build-up of bacteria, the entire stay must be cleaned and disinfected a few times a year.


This species has a calm character and is usually easy to handle. nevertheless there are some things to look out for while handling. First, never squeeze your hose while handling, because their vertebrae are fragile and can break easily. It is best to keep your hose in your hand. Also make sure that your hands are washed and do not smell like food. Lastly, your hose does not handle when it is peeling and do not handle it in the dark.


Hunting method: Strangle snake.

Lifestyle: The prairie garter snakes are daily active. Garter snakes are generally more active than most other domestic snake species. During the cooler parts of the day, garter snakes roam their territory in search of food.


This species has a calm character, If garter snakes feel threatened, they will generally flee. If flights are not possible they will defend themselves by threatening and if that does not help by biting. A final defense technique that garter snakes can use is emptying the anal glands, often releasing stools at the same time. This releases a very unpleasant odor.

Points of attention

When purchasing, preferably choose young offspring. Wild caught animals are often infected with (internal and / or external) parasites, regularly carry diseases and are very sensitive to stress.

Costs and Purchase

Legislation: No CITES legislation

One-time costs: This includes the costs for accommodation, lighting, heating, water bowl and decoration. This can together cost a few hundred euros to a few thousand euros. The final amount depends on the quality and size of the products.

Fixed costs: Fixed costs include the costs for the feed, which is a few tens of euros per year.

Unexpected costs: Costs have been incurred if your hose happens to fall ill or your equipment breaks down.