This large, slender, nonvenomous snake usually escapes in an explosive burst of speed. It is fast-moving and thrashes when captured, which led to the stubborn myth that this snake can whip a person to death.
Of the five kinds of garter snakes in Missouri, the eastern gartersnake is the most common. Though the color is variable (dark brown, greenish, or olive), there are normally three yellowish stripes, one down the back and one on each side.
This harmless snake with an upturned snout can hiss loudly and spread its neck like a cobra. If this defense fails to ward off an enemy, the snake may thrash around, open its mouth, roll over, and play dead.
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