Garter snakes can release a bad-smelling secretion from a gland near the cloaca when attacked. They can bite but are more likely to hide their heads and flail their tails when disturbed. They may also try to escape into a den or into water if attacked on land.
Garter snakes carry a mildly neurotoxic venom but are harmless to humans and are sometimes kept as pets. All species have a stripe running the length of the spine, and most have parallel side stripes. They are usually found near water or moisture. The most common type of snake found in North America, the garter snake is preyed on by hawks, crows, skunks, raccoons, opossums, larger snakes, frogs, shrews and crayfish.