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Common Gartersnake

The common gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis) is a relatively small, striped, non-venomous snake. It is one of the most widespread snake species in North America and its range extends farther north than any other North American snake. In Canada, it is found in every province except Newfoundland and Labrador, and as far north as James Bay and into the southernmost Northwest Territories. The common gartersnake is broken into five subspecies across Canada: the Maritime gartersnake (Thamnophis s. pallidulus; PEI, NS, NB, QC), the Eastern gartersnake (Thamnophis s. sirtalis; QC, ON), the red-sided gartersnake (Thamnophis s. parietalis; ON, MB, SK, AB, BC, NWT), the valley gartersnake (Thamnophis s. fitchi; BC), and the Puget Sound gartersnake (Thamnophis s. pickeringii; BC).


Snake Species in Canada

A snake is a long, slender reptile of the suborder Serpentes, within the order Squamata (which also includes lizards). There are 25 species of snake currently found in Canada. In addition, one species, the timber rattlesnake, and one subspecies, the Pacific gophersnake, are extirpated. This means that, while they continue to live in other parts of their range, they are no longer found in Canada. Snake species in Canada belong to one of three taxonomic families: Boidae, Viperidae or Colubridae. Most species live in the southern part of the country; however, the common gartersnake can be found as far north as the 60th parallel, near Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.


Prairie Rattlesnake

The prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) is a large-bodied, venomous snake. It is one of three rattlesnake species found in Canada (a fourth is extirpated). In Canada prairie rattlesnakes are found in southern portions of Alberta and Saskatchewan. With one of the largest ranges of all rattlesnake species, their range continues along a north–south strip east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Missouri River, into northern Mexico.


Western Rattlesnake

The Western rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) is a venomous snake native to North America. It is one of three rattlesnake species found in Canada (a fourth is extirpated). Only one subspecies of Western rattlesnake, the Northern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus), is found here. In Canada, Western rattlesnakes are only found in British Columbia. They are active from April to October, hibernating the rest of the year. Western rattlesnakes face many threats including habitat loss and fragmentation, road mortality, and persecution from humans.


Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

The Eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) is a relatively small rattlesnake that is native to the Great Lakes region of eastern North America. It is one of three rattlesnake species found in Canada (a fourth is extirpated). Its Canadian distribution is restricted to several small, disjunct areas in southern Ontario. The massasauga has disappeared from much of its historical range. Populations continue to decline due to ongoing threats, including habitat loss, deaths on roads and intentional persecution from humans.



Rattlesnake is the common name for about 30 species of venomous, viperid snakes in the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus, found from southern Canada to South America. Three species of rattlesnake are found in Canada: the Western rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganous), the prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridus) and the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus). Another species, the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) is extirpated, meaning the species no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but lives elsewhere.