Creature Feature: Eastern Gartersnake

By MDC | September 1, 2023
From Xplor: September/October 2023

Stinky Self Defense

When captured, a gartersnake may try to bite. It may also squirt a thick, stinky liquid from its backside to make a predator reconsider its dining options.

Extra Bendy Backbone

Like all snakes, a gartersnake has a long backbone made up of over 200 vertebrae. This helps it slither around obstacles or twist into a pretzel.

Open Wide!

Imagine eating a burrito in a single bite. Snakes do it on the daily. To swallow prey whole, a gartersnake can open its jaws 160 degrees.

What Are You Staring At?

You’d never win a staring contest with a snake. They can’t blink because they don’t have eyelids! A tough, clear scale protects their peepers.

On the Tip of the Tongue

A gartersnake’s forked tongue collects odors from the air. The forks are so sensitive, they can tell if the smell is coming from the left or right.

Also In This Issue

Mountain Lion

Creep closer for a sneak peek at Missouri’s most mysterious visitor.

This Issue's Staff

Photographer – Noppadol Paothong
Photographer – David Stonner
Designer – Marci Porter
Designer – Les Fortenberry
Art Director – Cliff White
Editor – Matt Seek
Magazine Manager – Stephanie Thurber