Thamnophis atratus

Scientific name:
Thamnophis atratusatratus

Dutch name:
Santa Cruz kousebandslang

English name:
Santa Cruz Garter Snake

German name:

Thamnophis atratus atratus (Santa Cruz garter snake)
Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus (Oregon garter snake)
Thamnophis atratus zaxanthus (Diablo garter snake)

Pictures of Thamnophis atratus…

Thamnophis atratus atratus – the outer coast of the San Francisco Peninsula.
Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus – the coastal area lying between the Umpqua River (Oregon) and the Gualala-river in California.
Thamnophis atratus zaxanthus – California, the inner east coast of the San Francisco Bay and from San Jose to Santa Barbara.

All kinds of stationary, slow-or fast-flowing, clear or muddy water bodies.
Appears in both dense as in sparsely vegetated area.

Primarily amphibians and fish. Sometimes invertebrates, mammals and birds.
I gave the ones I kept primarily smelt, complemented with chicken heart, pollock fillet or other fish.

T. a. atratus – 5 to 15 young per litter.
T. a. hydrophilus – 10 to 25 young per litter.
T. a. zaxanthus – unknown to me.

These animals can be kept in a medium-sized terrarium, one and the other depending on their size and the number of snakes.
A large water basin is desirable, since the animals like to lie in in the water.
My Santa Cruz garter snakes are calm snakes that go wild during the feeding. They try to steal the food from each other so you have to watch them while they eat.
I offered them a brumation of at least 2 months in a refrigerator at 4 – 6 degrees Celsius.
Since a few years I do not keep them any more…

The length is between 35 and 100 cm.
This species often lives in the close proximity of water, but it seems there are also some populations that are more “land inhabiting”.
Most of them keep a short brumation, but the animals in central California also are active during the whole year.
Is found at altitudes up to 1000 meters.


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