Coast Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans terrestris). Really beautiful coloration, possibly the prettiest I've ever seen.
San Mateo County, California.
Found under a board . Looks freshly molted . A very bright individual . Temperature about 56 degrees F. at the time of the observation .
Snake under a cedar
In a wash out between the river and the road.
This was a small specimen (juvenile) that exhibited unusually aggressive behaviour (rearing up and opening its mouth) after it was encountered on a trail not far from the intertidal zone. Unfortunately it was then killed by the person who came across it, thinking it was a venomous reptile of some kind. I have seen this behaviour before in this species, when they are out in the open Perhaps because they feed in tide pools, the snakes are trying to get warm enough to digest and are thus reluctant to take cover. It really is odd and distinguishes the T. elegans vagrans from the two other garter snake species we have on Cortes Island.
The western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans) is a western North American species of colubrid snake. Seven subspecies are currently recognized.