STATUS: Endangered without critical habitat.|
DESCRIPTION: The San Fracisco Garter Snake is considered the most beautiful of garter snakes in North America by some. It has a broad, greenish yello strip running the length of its back, bordered in black and flanked on either side by red and black stripes. The of teh snake's head is read and its belly is blue green. It can grow to 130 cm. The red and black dorsal stripes distinguis it from the California red-sided garter snake.
HABITAT: Live secretively in in wetlands or grasslands near ponds, marshes, and soughs, where theya re likely to retreate into water when disturbed. Usually found around pands and marshes that support large frog populations.
Present: Limited to small areas within this historical range. In Septermber 1990, however, a sigle snake was captured at Rancho del Oso near Davenport in Sana Cruz County.
THREATS AND/OR REASONS FOR DECLINE: Destruction of habitat by urban and agricultural development. Largest population near San Franciso Interantional Airport is threatend by propoosed new Bay area Rapid Transport (BART) station. Creek cheannelization and riprapping streambands has alterd habitat; garter snake is also a favorite of reptile collectors.
Historic: Within San Mateo County. It extended from theSand Francisco County line south along the eastern and western foothills of theSanta Cruz Mountains to Point Año Nuevo.
OTHER INFORMATION: Diet consists mainly of frogs, but also preys up other amphibians and small fish. May spend some time in upland aeas, especially during autumn and winter, and may overwinter there. Sankes Mate in autumn or spring and the female bears 12 to 24 live young in July or August. NOt much else is currently know about this snake.
Life on the Edge. Biosystems Books 1994. Santa Cruz, California