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Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.

~ John Dewey

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Monday, October 06, 2008


Sunday, H was walking out of her Spanish tutor's house which is set on a beautiful piece of wooded property and she almost stepped on something that looked a lot like this:

Unfortunately, we didn't have our camera. But, her Spanish tutor had a book about snakes, so we were able to ascertain that it was an eastern garter snake. Here's what we learned about them.

The Eastern Garter Snake is one of North Carolina's most common snakes. It grows up to four feet long (the one we saw was only about 15 inches although it was hard to tell because it curled up a bit when it smelled us). It's color patterns can vary, but it usually has three yellow stripes (the one we saw did not which made it harder to identify). Usually there is a checkerboard pattern of dark spots between the stripes (the checkerboard was obvious on the one we saw).

These snakes are usually found near water or moist places, including marshes, streams, damp woods, wet meadows, parks, gardens, weed patches, farms, and forest edges. (The one H almost stepped on was in the driveway near some thick grasses)

Garter snakes are very active. They can be found day or night, but they're most active during the day (it was 10 AM when we saw one). Eastern Garter Snakes hunt or bask during the day. Garter snakes eat: frogs, toads, salamanders, earthworms, small fish, tadpoles, mice, bird eggs, slugs, crayfish, leeches, insects, small snakes, and carrion. Females do not lay eggs like most snakes. They give birth to live young. Each baby snake is five to nine inches long. Over 50 young can be born at one time. Predators of garter snakes include: hawks, skunks, raccoons, opossums, larger snakes, and bullfrogs.If attacked, a garter snake will release a bad-smelling odor. They also bite. Good thing we didn't try to pick it up!

Note: images come from

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