Narrow-headed gartersnakes description
The narrow-headed gartersnake is a predominantly aquatic, non-venomous snake found in Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico. This snake is distinguished from other gartersnakes of it's genus by the lack of stripes along its body and the elongated, triangular head. The narrow-headed gartersnakes' color ranges from olive to brown with dark spots along its body. They can reach a maximum size of four feet, and females are larger than males. They have a long prehensile tail, and their eyes are situated high up on the head, adaptations for their aquatic lifestyle.
Narrow-headed gartersnakes are found in central Arizona east into western New Mexico. There is a second population in Mexico that ranges from northern Chihuahua into Durango. Their preferred habitat is along rocky creeks and streams at elevations of 4, 000 to 7, 000 ft. where there is abundant vegetation. Oak Creek Canyon in central Arizona is home to one of the largest populations.
Narrow-headed gartersnakes spend most of their time in or around water and eat primarily fusiform (torpedo shaped) fish such as trout and dace, salamanders, and tadpoles. They are excellent swimmers but use their tail to anchor themselves underwater to wait and then ambush prey that comes near. They bask near the water using vegetation for cover and camouflage, and will flee into the water at any sign of danger. The home range of these snakes is relatively small, but they travel quite far in the fall to hibernation sites that are safely above the floodplain.