Snakes

Of the eleven families of snake, five occur in North America. Snakes have an elongated body, scales, no external ear openings, and no eyelids. Some are active during the day, others are nocturnal. Snakes occupy a variety of habitats, all are carnivorous, some lay eggs while others bear live young.

The following snakes are found in Central Oregon:

Common Garter SnakeGopher SnakeNight SnakeNorthwestern Garter SnakeRacerRubber BoaStriped WhipsnakeWestern RattlesnakeWestern Terrestrial Garter Snake

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

  • RANGE: From Canada to Mexico, from coast to coast, but absent in the southwestern US.
  • STATUS: Abundant
  • HABITAT: Grasslands, shrublands, and forests.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Generally found near wetlands.
  • REPRODUCTION: May not reproduce every year; produce 10-18 (or occasionally up to 80) live young in reproductive years.
  • FOOD: Eat a variety of invertebrates, amphibians and fish; may also eat birds and small mammals.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON:
  • REFERENCES: Storm and Leonard, 1995.

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Gopher Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus)

  • RANGE: Eastern Washington below 2600 feet, western Oregon below 2000 feet, and eastern Oregon below 5500 feet.
  • STATUS:
  • HABITAT: Dry desert to moist agricultural areas; dry forests.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Rocks, debris, or rodent burrows for refuge sites.
  • REPRODUCTION: Three to 8 eggs likely deposited in burrows or deep rocky crevices.
  • FOOD: Generally small mammals and birds.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON:
  • REFERENCES: Storm and Leonard, 1995.

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Night Snake (Hypsiglena torquata)

  • RANGE: Arid, low elevations of eastern Washington and Oregon.
  • STATUS: Not State or Federally protected
  • HABITAT: Rocky areas and occasionally rodent burrows in arid, low elevation sites.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS:
  • REPRODUCTION: Not well known.
  • FOOD: Primarily small lizards; also lizard eggs small frogs and toads and large insects.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Occurs in Central Oregon
  • REFERENCES: Storm and Leonard, 1995.

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Northwestern Garter Snake (Thamnophis ordinoides)

  • RANGE: They are found West of the cascades throughout Oregon into extreme Northwestern California and North into Southwest British Columbia. Northwestern Garter Snakes are usually found in open woodlands or grassy areas, but they can occasionaly be found along streams and other water sources.
  • STATUS: Common
  • HABITAT: Northwestern Garter Snakes are usually found in open woodlands or grassy areas, also can found along streams and other water sources.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Riparian meadows, and moist areas bordering streams or bodies of water.
  • REPRODUCTION: Live bearer,4-19 young are born July to September.
  • FOOD: A generalist in terms of feeding, frogs, salamanders, slugs, and worms make up a large portion of the diet.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON:
  • REFERENCES: Storm and Leonard, 1995.

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Racer (Coluber constrictor)

  • RANGE: Across North America from southern Canada to Guatemala.
  • STATUS: Not federally protected
  • HABITAT: Open habitats, such as meadows, sagebrush flats, and talus slopes.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Prefer more arid environments; seldom found in forests.
  • REPRODUCTION: Produce 3-7 eggs per year.
  • FOOD: Small mammals, lizards, frogs and insects.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Occurs throughout Central Oregon
  • REFERENCES: Storm and Leonard, 1995.

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Rubber Boa (Charina bottae)

  • RANGE: Southern British Columbia south to southern California and east to Montana and Wyoming.
  • STATUS: Common, although not readily seen.
  • HABITAT: A variety of habitats, including deserts, grasslands, woodlands, and mountain forests; generally found within several hundred yards of water.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Rotting stumps or logs, bark, flat rocks, cliff crevices, and forest litter.
  • REPRODUCTION: Produce 2 to 8 live young; may not reproduce every year.
  • FOOD: Primary diet includes small rodents and shrews, but may take salamanders, lizards, snakes and birds.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Occurs in central Oregon
  • REFERENCES: Storm and Leonard, 1995.

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Striped Whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus)

  • RANGE: Central Washington below 1,985 feet and central and southern Oregon below 4,800 feet.
  • STATUS:
  • HABITAT: Dry, low elevation areas with open rocky areas and scattered vegetation.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS:
  • REPRODUCTION: Produce 3 to 10 eggs per year.
  • FOOD: Primarily lizards, but also small rodents, bats, frogs, birds, and other snakes.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON:
  • REFERENCES: Storm and Leonard, 1995.

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Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)

  • RANGE: Washington and Oregon.
  • STATUS:
  • HABITAT: Dry regions with low or sparse vegetation.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Rocky areas.
  • REPRODUCTION: Generally do not produce young each year; produce 3 to 12 live young in reproductive years.
  • FOOD: Primarily small mammals, but will also take birds, lizards, and amphibians.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Occurs in central Oregon
  • REFERENCES: Storm and Leonard, 1995

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Western Terrestrial Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans)

  • RANGE: Across western North America from British Columbia and Saskatchewan to California and New Mexico, with isolated populations to the north and south of the main range.
  • STATUS:
  • HABITAT: Grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, and open forest.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Generally found near water.
  • REPRODUCTION: May not reproduce every year; produce 4-19 live young in reproductive years.
  • FOOD: Very diverse diet including a variety of invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, small mammals, and carrion.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Occurs in central Oregon
  • REFERENCES: Storm and Leonard, 1995.

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