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Sierra Nevada Species: Garter Snake

I found this beautiful snake basking in barely flowing water at an elevation of about 5800′ in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. At first I thought it was a striped racer, but racers have two light stripes on their sides, while this one has a light stripe down the middle of its back and a light underbelly. It appears to be a juvenile garter snake, or at this altitude, it could be full-grown, morphologically adapted to a less plentiful food web. It’s rather small, about 24″ long.  Click any image below for full size.

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Light belly, dark back with a single stripe down the middle.

It likes the water.

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