Common Snake Species in PortlandCommon Garter Snake: The common garter snake (Thamnophis Sirtalis) is found throughout North America everywhere from the northeast, southeast, to the more northern western states, and the west coast. Their habitat is diverse, ranging from forests to fields, prairies, streams, wetlands, marshes, and ponds. They are found at elevations from sea level to mountains. In urban and suburban areas, they can be found in basements, gardens, debris piles, and areas with standing water. Their saliva contains a mild venom that is not toxic to humans but may cause some slight itching, burning, or swelling. They are not considered venomous for human beings.
Common garter snakes are thin and about 22 inches in length. They typically have a pattern of yellow stripes on a brown, black, or green background, however, common garter snakes have been found with a wide variety of colors, including blue, gold, orange, and red. It is diurnal and tends to be most active in the morning and late afternoon. They are sometimes seen basking in the sun on a particularly warm winter afternoon.
Pacific Gopher Snake: The Pacific gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer) is found throughout the west coast of the United States. Their natural habitat ranges from woodlands, arid deserts, grassy meadows, and prairies. They can be found in suburban areas that encroach on their natural habitat. They are not venomous but do inflate their bodies, flatten their heads, and shake their tails when threatened. This produces a sound similar to the rattle of rattlesnakes.
The Pacific gopher snake has a base color ranging from yellow to dark brown with gray coloring on the side of the body. They have dark brown spots. The adults can grow from 3 to 7 feet in length, with 4 to 5 being the average. They get their name from a favorite prey- pocket gophers. They also eat birds and their eggs, other small mammals, reptiles, and insects.
California Kingsnake: The California kingsnake (Lampropeltis Californiae) is found throughout the western United States and northern Mexico. It can be found in the mountains to an elevation of 6,100 feet. It has adapted to a wide range of habitats, including grasslands, deserts, marshes, woodland chaparrals, and suburban areas. They are non-venomous.
The California kingsnake comes in a wide variety of colors, black and brown being common, and they usually have black/brown or white/tan stripes. Their average length is two feet but they have been known to grow to a little more than three feet. They “smell” using their forked tongue and Jacobson organ to taste and analyze scent particles. They are constrictors and feed by squeezing and suffocating prey.
Venomous Snake Species in PortlandNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake: The northern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) can be found in western North America from the Baja peninsula in California, up through the west coast and into the south of British Columbia. It can also be found in western and southern Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. They have adapted to a wide variety of habitats, including deserts, arid plains, fertile valleys, prairie grasslands, rocky ridges, mountain meadows, and forests. They are venomous.
The northern Pacific rattlesnake has a range of potential colors from dark-brown, dark-gray, olive-brown, black, or pale yellowish ground color. They have a pattern of uneven, dark blotches with uneven white edges. They usually have a pale-yellow belly with brown spots and a dark-brown blotch on the snout. They can reach 39 inches in length. They tend to come out during dawn and dusk and are nocturnal in the heat of summer. They like to stay hidden during the day but will sometimes come out to bask on the rocks.
Western Rattlesnake: The western rattlesnake (Crotalus Viridis) is a pit viper that can be found from southwestern Canada, along the west coast and western United States, and down to northern Mexico. They are found in habitats ranging from the Great Plains to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. They are found in the following states: California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. They go where there is a prey base and they like vegetation cover. They can occupy rocky (or cement) outcroppings and are known to take over burrows that other animals make. They are poisonous.
Western rattlesnakes are typically lightly colored in shades of brown. They have patches of dark brown with uneven edges. They have a triangle-shaped head with pit sensory organs on either side and a distinctive pair of internasals connecting the rostral. They average about three feet in length. They feed on birds, mice, rats, and small mammals such as prairie dogs, and occasionally on reptiles and amphibians.
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