Found a shed snake skin in basement

Asked August 10, 2019, 10:48 AM EDT

Can you please help us identify if its venomous?
Thank you,

Monmouth County New Jersey

1 Response

Thank you for your question. It's difficult to identify shed skins from a photo, but based on the residual pattern on the skin, I believe your skin came from an Eastern Gartersnake, scientific name Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis. This species is non-venomous, but it does possess mildly toxic saliva, that presumably helps them subdue larger prey. Typical length of adults is approximately 2 feet, but maximum length can approach 4 feet.

Their diet is pretty varied. They feed primarily on frogs, toads and earthworms, but they also feed on several different kinds of invertebrates, fish, small snakes, baby birds, mice and shrews.

The snake is probably long-gone from your basement, and is outside searching for food.

I hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.