|Garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis)|
And like other Northwesterners, these snakes appreciate spring sunshine. They've spent the winter hibernating, often in communal groups tucked into rock crevices. After emerging in the spring, female garters leave scent (pheromones) trails in their wakes, which males follow, flicking their tongue to pick up the taste/smell.
When a male tracks down a female, he rubs his chin along the length of her back, and attempts to lie beside her. Eventually, after the males repeated twistings and attempts at alignment, a convinced female opens her vent and allows him to insert one of his two hemipenes (twinned penises) into her cloaca. Her body will store his sperm until the eggs are ready for fertilization.
Rather than laying eggs, garter snakes retain the eggs within their bodies and birth live young, usually between July and October. With the birth of her snakelets, the mother's duties are finished, and family members go their separate ways...maybe to hang out on a nice warm sidewalk.
Seen any snakes lately?