CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California


California Red-sided Gartersnake -
Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis

(Blainville, 1835)

(including South Coast Gartersnake)
Click on a picture for a larger view



Common Gartersnakes California Range Map
Red = Range of this subspecies in California

Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis - California Red-sided Gartersnake


Range of other subspecies in California:

Orange: Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi - Valley Gartersnake

Purple: South Coast Gartersnake

Dark Blue: Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia -
San Francisco Gartersnake



Click the map for a topographical view



observation link





Typically-colored snakes with pale or yellow stripes and undersides
California Red-sided Gartersnake
Adult with head flattened in defensive display, Monterey County
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
Large adult - notice the flattened head defensive display, Monterey County. Photos © Gary Nafis.
Specimen courtesy of David Keegan & Susan Whitford of the Santa Lucia Conservancy.
Adult, Contra Costa County
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
Adult, Humboldt County Adult, Mendocino County
© Mike Spencer
California Red-sided Gartersnake
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
Adult, Solano County, © Rick Staub Adult, Fort Ord, Monterey County © K. Moussally Adult, Santa Cruz County
© John Sullivan
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake Valley Gartersnake Valley Gartersnake
Adult, Humboldt County Adult from near Sea Ranch, Sonoma County © Craig Tooley - Ruffimage.com Adult, Mendocino County © Luke Talltree
Valley Gartersnake Valley Gartersnake Valley Gartersnake Valley Gartersnake
Adult, Alameda County © Luke Talltree Adult, Sonoma County © Luke Talltree Adult, eastern Sonoma County
© egret.org / Audubon Canyon Ranch
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
Adult, Alameda County
© David Rodriguez
Adult, Humboldt County © Spencer Riffle Adult, Humboldt County © Spencer Riffle
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
Adult, Monterey County
© Benjamin German
Adult, Napa County © Jonathan Koehler
This snake was found along the Napa River south of Yountville, which is close to where the T. s. infernalis subspecies meets the T. s. fitchi subspecies in Napa County. It looks more like T. s. infernalis to my eye, but some might call it an intergrade due to the fact that the entire head is not red.
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
Adult, Alameda County © David Rodriguez Adult, Mendocino County © Wade Leschyn
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake    
This adult snake, found in Sonoma County near the Mendocino County border, has an unusual amount of red on the sides that even covers some of the light side stripes.
© Craig Tooley - Ruffimage.com
This snake from the Humboldt County coast has a mostly solid red stripe on the sides which is more typical of some Coast Gartersnakes © Teejay ORear    
     
California Red-sided Gartersnakes with Blue Coloring on the Stripes and Underside
(Most are from north of the San Francisco Bay - but not all.)
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
Adult with blue coloring, coastal Marin County Adult, coastal Marin County
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
Adult with blue coloring, coastal Marin County Adult, Marin County © Luke Talltree
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
Gravid adult female, coastal Marin County Adult, Sonoma County near Santa Rosa
© Suzanne Kennedy
Adult, with blue stripes, Sonoma County, near Sebastopol. © Nancy Mittasch
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
  Juvenile mouth gaping defensive display, Marin County  
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake
Juvenile, Marin County Gravid adult female, Marin County
© Jim Tracy
Gravid adult female, Marin County
© Jim Tracy
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake  
Adult, Marin County © Luke Talltree Adult, Marin County © Luke Talltree This bluish adult is from southeastern Mendocino County, which might be at the northernmost part of the range where this snake shows some blue coloring. (This snake is also near where the Valley Gartersnake shows up and it shows some characteristics of that subspecies.) © Spencer Riffle  
Blue Snakes Not from North of San Francisco Bay
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake    
Adult with blue coloring, Santa Clara County © Holly Lane
This snake was found sitting on a trail with its head elevated, eyeing a California Kingsnake that was approaching it from some tall grass. Kingsnakes eat other snakes, and this gartersnake knew it.

Adult, San Benito County
© David Conrath.
This snake is from the southernmost location from which I've seen a snake with this blue coloration - extreme northwestern San Benito County, about 5 miles north of San Juan Bautista, 12 miles from Monterey Bay, and 40 miles as the crow flies from the southernmost known location of the San Francisco Gartersnake.

   
       
Comparison With Sympatric Gartersnake Species
Gartersnakes Gartersnakes    
Three species of gartersnakes found at the same Marin County location, including Thamnophis sirtalis, Thamnophis atratus, and Thamnophis elegans. © Luke Talltree Three species of gartersnakes found at the same Marin County location, including Thanmophis sirtalis, Thamnophis atratus, and Thamnophis elegans. © Zach Lim    
       
Habitat
California Red-sided Gartersnake Habitat California Red-sided Gartersnake Habitat California Red-sided Gartersnake Habitat California Red-sided Gartersnake Habitat
Habitat, Alameda County Habitat in winter, Monterey County Habitat, Marin County
California Red-sided Gartersnake Habitat California Red-legged Frog Habitat Northern Red-legged Frog Habitat California Red-sided Gartersnake Habitat
Habitat, Marin County
Habitat, Marin County Habitat, Humboldt County Habitat, Humboldt County
Valley Gartersnake Habitat Valley Gartersnake Oregon Gartersnake Habitat  
Coastal habitat, Humboldt County Adult in habitat, Alameda County Habitat, Humboldt County coast
© Teejay ORear
 
     
South Coast Gartersnake
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake  
Adult, Riverside County © Brian Hinds Adult, © Brian Hinds  
     
South Coast Gartersnake Habitat
California Red-sided Gartersnake Habitat California Red-sided Gartersnake Habitat    
Habitat, Riverside County © Brian Hinds Historical habitat of the South Coast form, San Diego County
   
     
Identification Tip
  Puget Sound Gartersnake    
  Looking at the top of the heads can help to identify these sympatric species on the north coast:

T. sirtalis - Common Gartersnake (Left) has a larger longer head with bigger eyes than T. ordinoides - Northwestern Gartersnake (Right.)

© Filip Tkaczyk

California Gartersnakes Identification Key
   
       
Short Videos
California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake California Red-sided Gartersnake  
A red-sided gartersnake swims around in a small cattle pond on a sunny spring afternoon in Alameda County. I wanted to get a closer look, so I walked over to the snake's side of the pond, but then it swam to the other side, again and again, until I got tired of going round in circles. A huge feisty Red-sided Gartersnake from Santa Barbara County strikes out a few times at its captor.
Video © Vince Semonsen


A juvenile CA red-sided gartersnake in Marin County.  
     
Description

Not Dangerous (Non-poisonous)  -  This snake does not have venom that is dangerous to most humans.

Gartersnakes have toxins in their saliva which can be deadly to their prey and their bite might produce an unpleasant reaction in humans, but they are not considered dangerous to humans.

Size
Adults of this species measure 18 - 55 inches in length (46 - 140 cm), but the average size is under 36 inches (91 cm).

Appearance
A medium-sized snake with a head barely wider than the neck and keeled dorsal scales.
The eyes are relatively larged compared with other gartersnake species.

Some average scale counts:
7, occasionally 8, rarely 6 or 9, upper labial scales, often with black wedges.
10 lower labial scales.
The rear pair of chin shields are longer than the front.
Average of 19 scales at mid-body.
Color and Pattern
Ground color is dark olive to black.
The dorsal stripe is wide and well-defined, and yellowish to bluish in color.
Light stripes along the lower sides are not very distinct, often blending in with the color of the belly.
There are red bars alternating with the ground color along the sides above the lateral stripes.
The head is red or orangish.
The underside is bluish gray, sometimes with dark markings.

Snakes with robin's-egg-blue stripes and blue underneath are found north of the Bay Area into Sonoma County at least as far north as Sebastapol and Santa Rosa. Snakes from Sea Ranch in Sonoma county lack the blue, so the transition takes place somewhere between Sebastapol and Sea Ranch.

Some snakes in the southern part of the Bay Area may have bluish coloring with a yellow dorsal stripe.
Key to Identifying California Gartersnake Species

Life History and Behavior

Activity
Primarily active during daylight.
A good swimmer.
The species T. sirtalis is capable of activity at lower temperatures than other species of North American snake.
Defense
Often escapes into water when threatened.
When first handled, typical of gartersnakes, this snake often releases cloacal contents and musk, and strikes.
Diet and Feeding
Eats a wide variety of prey, including frogs and newts and their larvae, fish, birds, and their eggs, small mammals, reptiles, earthworms, slugs, and leeches.


    Toxic Newts

This species is able to eat adult Pacific Newts (genus Taricha) which are deadly poisonous to most predators.

An arms race between T. sirtalis and the tetrodoxin poison contained in Taricha has been documented, with newt toxicity varying by location and snake resistance to the toxin also varying by location.

(Edmund D. Brodie III. Patterns, Process, and the Parable of the Coffeepot Incident: Arms Races Between Newts and Snakes from Landscapes to Molecules. From In the Light of Evolution: Essays from the Laboratory and Field edited by Jonathan Losos (Roberts and Company Publishers). 2010.)


There is evidence * that when Common Gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) eat Rough-skinned Newts (Taricha granulosa) they retain the deadly neurotoxin found in the skin of the newts called tetrodotoxin for several weeks, making the snakes poisonous (not venomous) to predators (such as birds or mammals) that eat the snakes. Since California Newts (Taricha torosa) also contain tetrodotoxin in their skin, and since gartersnake species other than T. sirtalis also eat newts, it is not unreasonable to conclude that any gartersnake that eats either species of newt is poisonous to predators.

* (Williams, Becky L.; Brodie, Edmund D. Jr.; Brodie, Edmund D. III (2004). "A Resistant Predator and Its Toxic Prey: Persistence of Newt Toxin Leads to Poisonous (Not Venomous) Snakes." Journal of Chemical Ecology. 30 (10): 1901–1919.) https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JOEC.0000045585.77875.09

Reproduction
Mating occurs in the spring (and possibly the fall ) and young are born live, spring to fall.

Habitat
Utilizes a wide variety of habitats - forests, mixed woodlands, grassland, chaparral, farmlands, often near ponds, marshes, or streams. 

Geographical Range
The species Thamnophis sirtalis - Common Gartersnake, has the largest distribution of any gartersnake, ranging from the east coast to the west coast and north into Canada, farther north than any other species of snake in North America.

This subspecies, Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis - California Red-sided Gartersnake, is endemic to California, ranging from Humboldt County south, along the North Coast ranges (excluding much of the San Francisco peninsula) and east of the San Francisco Bay, then south along the central and south coasts to San Diego County.

(The eastern edge of the range of this subspecies as shown on my distribution maps is approximate and subject to change. For example: after I learned that an example of this subspecies was found on the east side of San Luis Reservoir in Merced County, I expanded the range east to cover that area. It's also possible there is a wide area of intergradation where both subspecies can be found. Researchers are no longer concerned with subspecies, so there is little information for me to go by.)


Common Gartersnakes from the Santa Clara River area in Ventura County south, may prove to be a new species (Stebbins 2003). I have followed the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife's designation of these south coast snakes by indicating them separatly on the map, but grouping then with T. s. infernalis until more research proves otherwise. (See notes on taxonomy below about the South Coast Gartersnake.)


I have been confused about which subspecies is present in this area, T. s. infernalis or T. s. fitchi. Field guides show either one or the other in the area, but they don't show it as a range of intergradation where both might be found. I have heard from a reliable source that a respected herpetologist working in the area told him that the Common Gartersnakes within 5-10 miles of the coast in the area are T. s. infernalis, but this picture of a snake found 3 miles from the coast in San Luis Obispo County has no red on the head, making it T. s. fitchi, although it has large bright red spots on the sides similar to T. s. infernalis.

- Rossman et al. in The Garter Snakes - Evolution and Ecology 1996 * show T. s. fitchi as the subspecies present along the central coast from south of Monterey Bay to Santa Barbara County.

- In a 2002 study of western T. sirtalis, Janzen et al show T. s. fitchi as present in the area.

- Robert Stebbins, in his 1985 and 2003 western herp field guides, shows T. s. infernalis as the subspecies present along the entire south coast with two areas in question in Ventura and Orange/San Diego counties. (His 2012 field guide does not show subspecies.)

My range map here used to show T. s. infernalis in that area, following Stebbins, and then as an intergrade range, but I have decided now to show only T. s. fitchi in the area for these reasons:

- A herpetologist who has surveyed the area told me that snakes in the area he has found have all keyed out to be T. s. fitchi - from the Salinas Valley south to Vandenburgh in Santa Barbara County.

- I have seen several specimens from the area that were clearly T. s. fitchi, including one from right on the coast at San Simeon;

- All of the pictures of common gartersnakes in the area I have seen that can be identified look like T. s. fitchi, but none look like T. s. infernalis, including pictures I've looked at on iNaturalist and in the H.E.R.P. database. (Some are labled T. s. infernalis, but that is not evident from the pictures);

I don't have the resources to check all of the museum specimens from the area, but until I see evidence that T. s. infernalis also inhabits the area (T. s. fitchi clearly is there) I'll show only T. s. fitchi. If you have seen pictures or other evidence of a snake that is clearly T. s. infernalis inhabiting the area, please let me know.


Full Species Range Map
Elevational Range
Rossman et al (1996) show the elevation record for the species (not specifically this subspecies) at 8,333 feet (2540 m.). Stebbins (2003) shows it as
8,000 ft. (2,438 m).

Notes on Taxonomy

SSAR Herpetological Circular No. 43, 2017 shows this note regarding the species Thamnophis sirtalis: "Analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear data suggest that this species may be composed of multiple independently evolving lineages often not concordant with the subspecific taxonomy (F. Burbrink, pers. comm.)."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In 1995, Doug Rossman and Jeff Boundy re-named the Thamnophis sirtalis found on the San Francisco Peninsula T. s. infernalis, (removing the name T. s. tetrataenia, but recognizing that the snakes were still subspecifically distinct), and lumped the coastal T. sirtalis with T. s. concinnus. This taxonomy is shown on the range map in the 1996 book, The Garter Snakes - Evolution and Ecology 1. In 1998, Sean Barry and Mark Jennings petitioned the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) to restore the previous nomenclature 2. With no opposition from Boundy or Rossman, the ICZN agreed to restore the name T. s. tetrataenia to Common Gartersnakes on the San Francisco peninsula 3. Nevertheless, some authors either missed the restoration of this nomenclature or chose to ignore it, and their work still reflects Rossman and Boundy's nomenclature.

(Thanks to Sean Barry for this clarification in a personal communication.)


Alternate and Previous Names (Synonyms)

Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis - California Red-sided Garter Snake (Stebbins 1966, 1985, 2003, Stebbins & McGinnis 2012)
Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis (Stebbins 1954)

Pacific garter snake
California-red-barred garter snake
One-striped garter snake
Single-striped garter snake
Western garter snake

The South Coast Gartersnake (Pictures)
Common Gartersnakes in Southern California have been treated as a unique taxon by the State of California that is different from T. s. infernalis, the California Red-sided Gartersnake. These snakes are called Thamnophis sirtalis ssp. - South Coast Gartersnake. This subspecies has not been formally described, so its recognition is not common. These are are a few mentions I have found:


The State of California has designated Common Gartersnake populations along the coastal plain from Ventura County to San Diego County as a Species of Special Concern. These snakes are listed as a separate subspecies by the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife's Special Animals List - T. sirtalis ssp. - south coast gartersnake (Coastal plain from Ventura Co. to San Diego Co., from sea level to about 850 m).



In its 2018 Sportfishing Regulations, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife restricts the take of south coast common gartersnakes in L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Ventura counties.



In a report published in 1994, Jennings and Hayes list the "South Coast Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis sp." as a species of special concern and describe its distribution, habitat, life history, and status:

"This California endemic is known only from scattered localities along the southern California coastal plain; apparently from the Santa Clara River Valley (Ventura County: SDSNH 4376; UCSB uncat.; S. Sweet, pers. comm.), south to the vicinity of San Pasqual (San Diego County: Klauber 1929; Figure 49). Verified sightings and museum specimens indicate that this taxon historically occurred from near sea level (Ballona Creek and Playa del Rey Marsh, Los Angeles County: Von Bloeker 1942) to ca. 832 m (Lake Henshaw, San Diego County: R. Fisher, pers. comm.)
...
The South Coast garter snake appears restricted to marsh and upland habitats near permanent water that have good strips of riparian vegetation (Grinnell and Grinnell 1907; S. Sweet, pers. comm.), probably because such sites provide the right combination of prey and refuge sites. Historical records of this taxon also exist for meadow-like habitats adjacent to marshlands (Van Bloeker 1942). Data are lacking on the microhabitats required for bearing young.

Status
: Endangered; of the 24 known historic localities for this taxon, 18 (75%) no longer support snakes. Extensive urbanization and flood control projects have destroyed most sites; some more isolated locations, such as in the Santa Monica Mountains, appear to have lost snakes following heavy floods or extended droughts (DeLisle et al. 1986). Habitat loss through agriculture, urbanization, and flood control projects, as well as the presence of many introduced aquatic predators threatens the six remaining localities where this snake still exists. This taxon can be notorious difficult to find in some areas (Klauber 1929; S. Sweet, pers. comm.)."

(Jennings, Mark R. and Marc P. Hayes. Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern in California. California Department of Fish and Game, published November 1, 1994.)



In a 2016 publication on herp species of special concern in California, Thompson et al discuss the South Coast Gartersnake, showing it as:

Garter Snake, Southern Populations, Thamnophis sirtalis (Linnaeus 1758). They remark that southern coastal populations of T. sirtalis have not been formally described as a distinct taxon, mentioning some ongoing studies on them, and discuss the snake's life history, taxonomy, the nature and degree of threat to it, and more.

(Robert C. Thomson, Amber N. Wright, and H. Bradley Shaffer. California Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern. University of California Press, 2016.)

Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
The northern population of T. sirtalis is not considered threatened.


South Coast Gartersnake

The California Department of Fish and Game lists the South Coast Gartersnake as a California Species of Special Concern. Jennings and Hayes in a 1994 publication state that 75 percent of the known historic localities for this snake no longer support snakes due to habitat loss from urbanization and flood control projects, floods, extended droughts, and introduced aquatic predators.

In California Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern (2016) the authors remark that southern coastal populations of T. sirtalis have a "...very small range in a heavily-impacted part of the state. In addition, these populations have been extirpated from most of their historical range, which justifies a Priority 1 Species of Special Concern designation." The authors attribute the population decline of the taxon to habitat loss and fragmentation and natural events such as floods and droughts. They mention possible threats from introduced aquatic predators, introduced water snakes, and vegetation shifts and the availability of intermittent and ephemeral water bodies utilized by the species due to climate change.
Taxonomy
Family Colubridae Colubrids Oppel, 1811
Genus Thamnophis North American Gartersnakes Fitzinger, 1843
Species sirtalis Common Gartersnake (Linnaeus, 1758)
Subspecies

infernalis Red-sided Gartersnake (Blainville, 1835)
Original Description
Thamnophis sirtalis - (Linnaeus, 1758) - Syst. Nat., 10th ed., Vol. 1, p. 222
Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis - (Blainville, 1835) - Nouv. Ann. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris, Vol. 4, p. 291, pl. 26, fig. 3

from Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America © Ellin Beltz

Meaning of the Scientific Name
Thamnophis - Greek - thamnos - shrub or bush, and ophis - snake, serpent
sirtalis
- sirtalis like a garter - probably refers to the to striped pattern
infernalis - Latin - of hell

from Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America - Explained © Ellin Beltz

Other California Garternakes
T. a. atratus - Santa Cruz Gartersnake
T. a. hydrophilus - Oregon Gartersnake
T. a. zaxanthus - Diablo Range Gartersnake
T. couchii - Sierra Gartersnake
T. gigas - Giant Gartersnake
T. e. elegans - Mountain Gartersnake
T. e. terrestris - Coast Gartersnake
T. e. vagrans - Wandering Gartersnake
T. hammondii - Two-striped Gartersnake
T. m. marcianus - Marcy's Checkered Gartersnake
T. ordinoides - Northwestern Gartersnake
T. s. fitchi - Valley Gartersnake
T. s. tetrataenia - San Francisco Gartersnake

More Information and References

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

* Rossman, Douglas A., Neil B, Ford, & Richard A. Siegel. The Garter Snakes - Evolution and Ecology. University of Oklahoma press, 1996.

Stebbins, Robert C., and McGinnis, Samuel M.  Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of California: Revised Edition (California Natural History Guides) University of California Press, 2012.

Stebbins, Robert C. California Amphibians and Reptiles. The University of California Press, 1972.

Samuel M. McGinnis and Robert C. Stebbins. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles & Amphibians. 4th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2018.

Stebbins, Robert C. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.

Behler, John L., and F. Wayne King. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Powell, Robert., Joseph T. Collins, and Errol D. Hooper Jr. A Key to Amphibians and Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. The University Press of Kansas, 1998.

Bartlett, R. D. & Patricia P. Bartlett. Guide and Reference to the Snakes of Western North America (North of Mexico) and Hawaii. University Press of Florida, 2009.

Bartlett, R. D. & Alan Tennant. Snakes of North America - Western Region. Gulf Publishing Co., 2000.

Brown, Philip R. A Field Guide to Snakes of California. Gulf Publishing Co., 1997.

Ernst, Carl H., Evelyn M. Ernst, & Robert M. Corker. Snakes of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, 2003.

Wright, Albert Hazen & Anna Allen Wright. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Cornell University Press, 1957.

Robert C. Thomson, Amber N. Wright, and H. Bradley Shaffer. California Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern. University of California Press, 2016.

Fredric J. Janzen, James G. Krenz, Tamara S. Haselkorn, Edmund D. Brodie, Jr, and Edmund D. Brodie, III. Molecular phylogeography of common garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) in western North America: implications for regional historic forces. Molecular Ecology (2002) 11, 1739-1751. © 2002 Blackwell Science Ltd

Conservation Status

The following conservation status listings for this animal are taken from the November 2020 California "Special Animals List" and the November 2020 "State and Federally Listed Endangered and Threatened Animals of California" list, both of which are produced by multiple agencies and available here: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Data/CNDDB/Plants-and-Animals. You can check the link to see if there are more recent lists.

If no status is listed here, the animal is not included on either list. This most likely indicates that there are no serious conservation concerns for the animal. To find out more about an animal's status you can go to the NatureServe and IUCN websites to check their rankings.

The species T. sirtalis is not included on the Special Animals List, which indicates that there are no significant conservation concerns for it in California.

T. sirtalis populations along the coastal plain from Ventura County to San Diego County are listed as a separate subspecies by the Special Animals List - T. sirtalis pop. 1 - south coast gartersnake (Coastal plain from Ventura Co. to San Diego Co., from sea level to about 850 m) with this note:
CDFW "Species of Special Concern" treats this population as a distinct taxon, though it is more commonly treated as a subpopulation of Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis, the California red-sided gartersnake.


The California state rankings and listings shown below apply only to the South Goast Garter Snake - T. sirtalis pop. 1.

Organization Status Listing  Notes
NatureServe Global Ranking G5T1T2 The species is: Secure—Common; widespread and abundant.

South Coast Gartersnake:
This subspecies is: Critically Imperiled - Imperiled
NatureServe State Ranking S1S2 South Coast Gartersnake:
Critically Imperiled - Imperiled
U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) None
California Endangered Species Act (CESA) None
California Department of Fish and Wildlife SSC South Coast Gartersnake:
Species of Special Concern
Bureau of Land Management None
USDA Forest Service None
IUCN None

 

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