Common Garter Snake


Actual Size: About 2′ – 4 1/2′ long.

Characteristics: Most are black, brown, or green with yellow stripes.

Habitats: Common in rural and suburban areas.


  • Mistakenly called garden snakes.
  • Can and will bite humans, but only if they feel threatened without escape. Bites can cause mild burning or itching.
  • Their saliva is mildly venomous and toxic to amphibians and other small animals.

Common Garter Snakes in Louisiana

Garter snakes sometimes get called “garden snakes” due to the similarities in names. One of the most common snakes in Louisiana, they’re easily identified by their characteristic stripe along the length of the spine. Common garter snakes are not poisonous and generally completely harmless. These highly adaptable snakes are found throughout the United States and can make their homes in a variety of environments and climates.

Common Garter Snakes Habitat

Garter snakes make dens, often under large rocks or structures. You can find them along building foundations, under stepping stones, or inside rock fences. Unlike most snakes, which lay eggs, garter snakes are viviparous, meaning they give birth to live young. Their diet is wide-ranging, but they often prey on snails, slugs, crickets, and other insects. Larger garter snakes can eat birds, small mammals, and frogs. Common garter snakes hibernate in natural borrows or holes and under rocks from late October until early April.

Common Garter Snakes Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Garter snakes don’t have fangs and are not venomous. They do, however, have small teeth and will bite humans if they feel threatened. These bites can become infected if not properly cleaned and cared for. Some people are also allergic to garter snake saliva, though it’s rare. Though they’re mostly harmless, they can cause quite a scare if you unexpectedly encounter one in your home or garden. While generally shy and withdrawn, a garter snake will bite if accidentally stepped on.

If you are having an issue with garter snakes on your property, we recommend contacting a professional wildlife control company for removal.