The Giant Garter Snake photo
by George Hansen*
Click on snake picture to watch
7 mg video of Giant Garter Snake (with Eric Hansen).
Smaller version here (2.7
A large aquatic snake that can be up
to four feet long. It inhabits freshwater marshes, sloughs, canals, ditches
and rice fields and eats small fish, tadpoles and frogs. In the historic
Central Valley, vast bulrush and cattail marshes provided habitat for Giant
Garter Snake and upland areas were used for basking in the sun and hibernation
areas during winter floods.
GGS exists only in the Central Valley
of California. If we don't protect them, the species disappears forever.
GGS was listed by the State of California
as threatened in 1971 and by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service as a
threatened species in 1993.
Humans have reduced the snakes
habitat by diking, channeling and draining wetlands in the Central Valley.
Habitat loss due to reclamation, grazing, bulldozers and road kill is key
to the present vulnerability to extinction. Other enemies include introduced
bullfrogs, largemounth bass and catfish.
*George Hansen of Sacramento,
California was the most knowledgeable expert on GGS when he died September 22,
1998. His son, Eric, has made available his photographs for this web site. Eric
Hansen is carrying on his Dad's work on the biology and protection of Giant