Mexican black-bellied Garter Snake
Thamnophis melanogaster canescens
Thamnophis melanogaster chihuahuaensis
Thamnophis melanogaster linearis
Thamnophis melanogaster melanogaster
Thamnophis melanogaster canescens – Mexico, from south-western San Luis Potosi southward through northern Michoacán and Guanajuato and westward from there through western Jalisco and Zacatecas into Durango.
Thamnophis melanogaster chihuahuaensis – Probably only some isolated populations in western Chihuahua in the river basins of the Bavispe and El Fuerte. Probably also in neighbouring Sonora.
Thamnophis melanogaster linearis – Mexico, in the Toluca Valley.
Thamnophis melanogaster melanogaster – The “Valley of Mexico”, a highland plateau in central Mexico.
Lives mostly on the banks all kinds of water bodies (streams, rivers, lakes and ponds), mostly in the riparian vegetation.
Feed mainly on aquatic prey such as fish, amphibians and invertebrates.
The litter of this species would be an average of 13 young.
They are born between June and August.
Copulations both on land and in water (own experience at T. m. canescens). The young of this subspecies are often quite different in one litter: smooth greenish, brownish or reddish, but there are also always spotted animals in a litter in all kinds of colours.
The subspecies T. m. canescens nowadays is kept and bred by a number of people. They are easy to keep. I keep my couple in a relatively small terrarium. The snakes lie nearly always in in the water part. This is also not so large. They both fit in it together, and there is a plastic plant in the water bowl to make feel safe.
Are often described as quite aggressive, but my experience is that they are rather shy. They have never bitten me.
In the terrarium should definitely be some shelters and a water bowl present.
This species is a “disputed Thamnophis species.”
Some scientists consider it as a Nerodia species. More research has to be done to know what is true…
Average length about 70 cm, with a maximum of approximately 86 cm.
Occurs between 1100 and 2600 meters altitude.
Is a species that is highly water dependent and rather shy.
Depending on the altitude that the animals live, they can be nocturnal in the summer.
I brumated my adult and juvenile specimen for about two months in the refrigerator at 4 – 6 degrees Celsius.
On the website of Steven Bol is a report on their habitat.