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Q: Mystery Snake with Yellow Head
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This is a hard one and honestly I'm not sure I will ever figure this one out.  If you can help I can offer you a HUGE smile and thank you for your wisdom and efforts.

My very first snake was this awesome snake which looked like a garter snake but it had the most beautiful brightly colored yellow head.  I disctinctly remember the sign which read, "Chinese Yellow-Headed Garter Snake."  Talk about a pain in the rear to decide as a first time snake keeper but that is what started my crazy life with reptile.  He escaped and I never found him.  I have also never seen another snake like him...EVER!!!  So does anyone know of a snake that looks, moves, and lives like a garter snake with a yellow head.  It may have been a juvenile phase but I still have never found anything on it.  Please help.  I would love to have one more crack at keeping this beautiful snake.  I'm going to try and go through the archives and see if my dad has any pics.  Dad...if you read this, PLEASE find the pictures of him.  I need to figure out what in the world he was.

Points: 0
Topics: Genetics , Knowledge Base
Tags: Genetics, Identification, Species
Administrative: Show/Hide

Member Comment 11/24/2010 3:56:21 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

I'd have to think it would be some sort of rat snake? Maybe an albino one of some sort?  An albino Chinese Beauty? 


Author Comment 11/24/2010 3:58:55 PM


It was not albino.  It looked to have full coloration.  It may have been a species of rat snake but it really looked like a garter snake.  It also LOVED the water.  It would pound feeder guppies and gold fish.

Member Comment 11/24/2010 4:07:40 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

Hmmm... did it have a flatter head? Could it have been a Water Snake?

Author Comment 11/24/2010 4:09:44 PM


I've tried looking at different species of water snakes too but the head shape was definitely more along the lines of garter snakes.  Everything about it screamed garter but that bright yellow head.  I've never seen anything like him. 

Member Comment 11/24/2010 4:26:27 PM


maybe a dekay snake? found one last year and had to ask shannon what it was. they look like a garter snake and have a yellowish to tan head

Author Comment 11/24/2010 4:49:47 PM


I just did a google search for the dekay's and it doesn't look like that.  It could have been a natural morph possibly.  It had the checkered pattern like garters though.

Member Comment 11/24/2010 7:06:17 PM


Golden-headed Garter Snake (Thamnophis chrysocephalus), maybe? This is the only picture I can find of one on the web, so I don't know whether they can have "yellower" heads than that...

On another note, if it was Garter-like, maybe the folks over at http://thamnophis.com/ can help you out? It's a forum dedicated to the Thamnophis genus (Garter and Ribbon snakes).

Author Comment 11/29/2010 6:36:07 PM


That has been the bst answer so far.  Thanks for the link.  I will try it out.  I think I will have the best luck when I get the image from my dad.  He insists that it had a red head and I say yellow!  let the debate begin.  We are both ALWAYS right so this should be interesting!  :)

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