Valley Gartersnake?

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kschnei1
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Valley Gartersnake?

Post by kschnei1 » August 14th, 2015, 6:00 pm

My sister found this snake in her yard recently. I assume this is T. sirtalis fitchi? Are there other possibilities for Stockton?

Only one image available - here:
https://flic.kr/p/xnoANv

Thanks!

Ken

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yoloherper
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by yoloherper » August 14th, 2015, 9:20 pm

It actually looks to be a mountain garter snake, T. e. elegans, which has a population on the valley floor in that area. Cool find!
-Elliot

kschnei1
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by kschnei1 » August 15th, 2015, 10:53 am

Thanks Elliot! Can you tell me briefly how to tell the two species apart? I know the photo isn't great...

Best wishes,
Ken

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yoloherper
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by yoloherper » August 16th, 2015, 3:37 pm

Generally fitchi has faint to prominent red markings along its sides which this snake lacks. Other than that, elegans often has faint black markings where the upper labials meet creating little verticle lines of black on the lips which are pretty visible on this snake. If you look at californiaherps, there are loads of pictures of both and you can see what i'm talking about. I think somewhere on the site, there might be a thamnophis ID key which could be useful.

kschnei1
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by kschnei1 » August 16th, 2015, 8:20 pm

Thanks!!

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Chad M. Lane
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by Chad M. Lane » August 21st, 2015, 6:58 pm

Actually I'd reckon that, it's a Diablo Range Gartersnake (Thamnophis atratus zaxanthus), not a Mountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans), I've found quite a few Diablos in Stockton, and a Coast Gartersnake north in Lodi.



Cheers,
Chad

kschnei1
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by kschnei1 » August 22nd, 2015, 8:28 am

Thanks for your comments Chad. Since there seems to be some disagreement on the ID of this snake, could you explain why you think it's a Diablo gartersnake? I realize that we only have the one low-power photo, so maybe it can't be definitively identified? I've entered this observation into the HERP database, and would like to get the ID correct if at all possible!

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Owen
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by Owen » August 23rd, 2015, 7:42 am

I'm on the elegans side of the fence with this one, though the wide dorsal stripe is more of an atratus feature. I have seen T. e. terrestris looking similar to your snake:

Image

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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by hellihooks » August 23rd, 2015, 3:41 pm

While certainly not qualified to have an opinion... it seems to me that perhaps 'secondary' factors, like proximity to water, could tilt the scales. (no pun intended, for once)

Of the two leading candidates... isn't one more terrestrial, and one more aquatic? How far from water 'in her yard' was the snake found?

Also... I believe the DB will accept species entered at the 'family' level... :thumb: jim

kschnei1
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by kschnei1 » August 23rd, 2015, 5:01 pm

This snake was found in a suburban backyard in Stockton - about 100-200 meters from a slough that is currently dry....

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yoloherper
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by yoloherper » August 23rd, 2015, 6:40 pm

Chad could you post a pic of a stockton atratus? My understanding was that they didn't range onto the valley floor, as historically, the area would have been home to gigas.
-Elliot

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Fundad
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by Fundad » August 24th, 2015, 12:49 pm

My albeit poor gartersnake IDing skills also call it a Mountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans). It seems if atratus occur in this area it may represent a range extension.

I too would like to see a stockon atratus photo?

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Chad M. Lane
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by Chad M. Lane » September 7th, 2015, 6:58 pm

I haven't found one in some years, and don't have photos of them, though it is a complete possibility of them being elegans, at the time they were not recorded that far south.

I found this Coast Gartersnake, in San Joaquin County, just west of I-5 near Lodi, CA.

ImageDiablo by Chad Lane, on Flickr

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Jeff
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Re: Valley Gartersnake?

Post by Jeff » September 9th, 2015, 10:48 am

The quick ID character for it being a Mountain Garter is the finely serrate margins of the vertebral stripe, which can be seen as tiny pale marks extending outward from the stripe.

Jeff

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