Plains Garter Snake

Thamnophis radix (Baird and Girard, 1853)

French Name Couleuvre des prairies
Max. Recorded Length 109.2 cm / 43 inches
Range Alberta, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Manitoba, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Pet Trade Availability ★★★☆ frequently available
Captivity Rating ★★★★ excellent

Note: These species pages are in various stages of completion. Some are basically finished; others are very much under construction. Please be patient while I work on this section.



Thamnophis radix was once divided into a western and an eastern subspecies. The latter, T. r. haydenii (Kennicott, 1860), is no longer recognized.


Captive Care

One of the good ones.

If you have experience with this species and would like to share, please contact me.

For general information on keeping garter snakes in captivity, please see the Care Guide.

Articles and News


Ernst, Carl H. and Evelyn M. Ernst. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada. Washington: Smithsonian Books.

Harding, James H. 1997. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Perlowin, David. 1994. The General Care and Maintenance of Garter Snakes and Water Snakes. Lakeside CA: Advanced Vivarium Systems.

———. 2005. Garter and Water Snakes. Irvine CA: Advanced Vivarium Systems.

Rossi, John V. and Roxanne Rossi. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada: Natural History and Care in Captivity. Malabar FL: Krieger.

Rossman, Douglas A., Neil B. Ford and Richard A. Seigel. 1996. The Garter Snakes: Evolution and Ecology. Norman OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

Sweeney, Roger. 1992. The Garter Snakes: Natural History and Care in Captivity. London: Blandford.

Tennant, Alan. 1998. A Field Guide to Texas Snakes. 2nd ed. Houston: Gulf.

Tennant, Alan and R. D. Bartlett. 1999. Snakes of North America: Eastern and Central Regions. Houston: Gulf.

Werler, John E. and James R. Dixon. 2000. Texas Snakes: Identification, Distribution, and Natural History. Austin: University of Texas Press.