Garter Snakes: A Gardener's Best Friend

(Conservation Currents, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District)

  • They grow to be 48 inches long.
  • Adults reach 1.5 to 2 feet in length.
  • They have three light colored stripes on a black, dark brown, tan or greenish body.
  • The belly is tinted yellowish, greenish or bluish.
  • They occur throughout Virginia.
  • They feed on a wide variety of prey including spiders, insects, fish, and amphibians.
  • Females give birth to 9-57 live young.
  • Sometimes they are found around suburban gardens and in houses.
  • There is a large occurrence in Fairfax County, especially in and around wooded areas.

garter snake What should you do if you find a garter snake in your garden?

One should never kill or harm garter snakes because they help control pest populations, which is especially helpful in your garden. If you cannot tolerate any snakes, purchase “Snake-a-way,” a snake repellent that is available in full service garden centers.

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