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Tualatin Hills Nature Park, redux Monday, April 20, 2009

The weather was so nice on Saturday, Perrie and I decided to go back to Tualatin Hills Nature Park to see what it looks like in the spring (we first went in January). No newts this time, but we did see plenty of trilliums (or is that trillia?) (left) and four small snakes.

I'm no herpetologist, but I'd call all of them garter snakes. They had two different patterns, but apparently that's not a great way to distinguish the various subspecies. According to one taxonomy study I found, you have to consider the number of lower labials, length of the chin shields, and the shape of the internasal scales (and whether or not those are pointed anteriorly). If you know the number of neck dorsal scales and mid-body dorsal scales, that helps too.

I asked this 16-incher how many lower labials he had, but he wasn't talking. I suspect he (or she) is a Northwestern garter snake, thamnophis ordinoides.