...Notes from the Field


Slithering Beauty of the Cascades

by | Nov 28, 2011

Last August as I was just learning my way in a totally alien environment in the Cascades Mountains,  this newcomer from Florida was searching for exotic wild orchids in Stevens Pass east of Seattle. Constantly looking over my shoulder for that great white shark of the land – the grizzly bear, I plunged into my new wild environment like a man lost in a desert into a barrel of cool water. Everything was new, fresh, exciting, and unknown! These next few posts will be from this series of forays into this beautiful and spectacular wilderness.

 Common Garter Snake in the Snoqualmie National Forest

I spotted this beautifully patterned garter snake at the edge of a small mountain lake in the Snoqualmie National Forest. I’ve seen many garter snakes all over the continent, but the ones I’ve seen (and caught) from Nova Scotia to Florida have never been so pretty.

Two of the most notable facts about this snake is that it is found further north than any other snake on the planet (they are even found in Alaska!) and that while considered a harmless snake to people in general, they are actually rear-fanged, and to a lizard or frog this is deadly. Don’t worry – the mouth of a garter snake is too small to get one of these fangs into any of us.

To see more images of snakes, please visit my Snake Gallery.

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1 Comment

  1. Erin Kohlenberg

    They also let out a defensive smell when your cat brings them in the house alive. 


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