Are There Garter Snakes In Kansas – The Truth

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Kansas is home to a variety of garter snakes. Starting from the grasslands and woodlands to the urban areas, the Garter snakes can be seen in almost every part of Kansas. Garter snakes are useful to the ecosystem as they help control the population of rodents and consume a variety of insects. In addition to their bionomical importance, garter snakes are very popular among snake lovers due to their sparkling colors and beautiful skin patterns. In this article, we will discuss the different types of Garter snakes in Kansas, their habitats, and their threat to tourists.

Types of Garter Snakes in Kansas

Garter Snakes In Kansas

Kansas is home to many garter snake species, with different features, colors, and body designs. There are five species of garter snakes in Kansas:

  1. Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) – The Eastern Garter Snake consists of a long, slim body with typical sidelong stripes. They are mostly found roaming around in many habitats, like forests, grasslands, and wetlands.
  2. Plains Garter Snake (Thamnophis radix) – This subspecies of the Garter Snake has a shorter, thick body and is typically found in the drier regions of Kansas, such as the prairies and grasslands.
  3. Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus) – This species has a thin, extended body with typical flank stripes and can be found living in wetland habitats, such as marshes and streams.
  4. Western Terrestrial Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans) – This subspecies is found in western Kansas and has a thick body with greenish-gray color with black or dark blue stripes. It is usually found living in dry, rocky habitats, such as prairies and deserts.
  5. Butler’s Garter Snake (Thamnophis butleri) – This endemic and rare subspecies is found only in the Flint Hills region of eastern Kansas and has a unique pattern of dark spots on a light-colored body. It is mostly found living in wetland habitats, such as streams and swamps.

These garter snakes play an important environmental role in Kansas, feeding on insects, small rodents, and amphibians, and are a captivating part of the state’s natural history.


Garter Snakes In Kansas

Garter snakes are an ordinary sight in Kansas and are found living in a wide variety of habitations throughout Kansas. Here are some of the most common habitats where garter snakes are usually seen in Kansas:

  1. Grasslands – Many species of garter snakes, such as the Eastern Garter Snake and the Plains Garter Snake, can be found in grassland habitats, where they can often be seen basking in the sun or hunting for prey.
  2. Wetlands – Ribbon snakes, Butler’s Garter Snakes, and some subspecies of the Eastern Garter Snake can be found in wetland habitats, such as marshes and streams, where they feed on small fish and amphibians.
  3. Forests – The Eastern Garter Snake can also be found in forested habitats, where they hunt for small rodents and insects.
  4. Rock outcroppings – The Western Terrestrial Garter Snake is typically found in rocky habitats, such as canyons and outcroppings, where they can often be seen basking in the sun.
  5. Urban areas – Some species of garter snakes, such as the Eastern Garter Snake, can also be found in urban areas, where they can often be found in gardens and parks.

Overall, garter snakes in Kansas are adaptable creatures that can be found in a wide variety of habitats, making them an important part of the state’s biodiversity.

Are Garter Snakes A Threat To Tourists?

Garter Snakes In Kansas

Garter snakes are generally not considered a threat to tourists, as they are non-venomous and typically shy away from humans. In fact, garter snakes are often seen as beneficial creatures because they help control populations of insects and small rodents. If encountered, tourists should avoid handling or provoking the snakes, as they may bite in self-defense.

Additionally, tourists should always be aware of their surroundings and watch where they step, as garter snakes and other wildlife may be present in natural areas. With proper awareness and respect, tourists can enjoy the beauty of garter snakes and other wildlife in Kansas without posing a threat to themselves or the animals.

Are There Any Other Snake Species In Kansas?

Kansas is home to many different species of snakes, each with its unique characteristics and habitats. While the rattlesnake is the most common snake species found in the state, there are a few other species that also call Kansas their home. These include the black rat snake, the bull snake, the coachwhip, and the garter snake. Each of these species plays an important role in the ecosystem and helps to control the populations of small rodents and other prey. If you’re interested in learning more about the different species of snakes found in Kansas, be sure to check out local wildlife resources or visit a nearby nature reserve to see these fascinating creatures in their natural habitats.


What do garter snakes eat?

Garter snakes diet consists of a lot of animals including small rodents, amphibians, fish, and insects.

Are garter snakes dangerous?

Garter snakes are non-venomous and generally not aggressive. They will usually run away when they feel threatened. They do not bite until handled without proper guidance.

How long do garter snakes live?

Garter snakes can live up to 5 years in the wild and up to 12 years in captivity

What is the best way to attract garter snakes to my yard?

The best way to attract garter snakes to your yard is to provide them with suitable habitats, such as tall grasses, logs, and rocks. You can also provide them with a water source, such as a pond or stream.


In conclusion, garter snakes are a common and important part of Kansas’s wildlife. While garter snakes are not typically considered a threat to tourists, it is important to treat them with respect and avoid handling or provoking them. By understanding the habitat and behavior of garter snakes in Kansas, tourists can safely appreciate their beauty and benefit the local ecosystem. Whether in a natural area or a city park, garter snakes provide a unique and valuable experience for visitors to the Sunflower State.

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