A garter snake is any species of North American snake within the genus Thamnophis. Because of the similarity in the sound of the words, combined with where people often see them, they are sometimes called garden snakes, gardner snakes or gardener snakes, or even garder snakes or guarder snakes. They are harmless to humans. Garter snakes are common across North America, from Canada to Central America, and they are the single most widely distributed genus of reptile in North America. In fact, the common garter snake, T. sirtalis, is the only species of snake to be found in Alaska, and is one of the northernmost species of snake in the world, possibly second only to the Crossed Viper, Vipera berus. The genus is so far ranging due to its unparticular diet and adaptability to different biomes and landforms, from marshes to hillsides to drainage ditches and even vacant lots, in both dry and wet regions, with varying proximity to water and rivers. However, in the western part of North America, these snakes are more water loving than in the eastern portion. Northern populations hibernate in larger groups than southern ones.
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