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Thamnophis proximus proximus
Nonvenomous Status Extremely common in Katy and Cypress Texas Description/Identification A skinny bodied snake typically less than 4 feet in length.  Black coloration with a white, red, or orange stripe along the back.  Many people (and pet stores) incorrectly call these garter snakes.  A clear differentiation between ribbon and garter snakes can be seen on the lower jaw.  Garter snakes will have vertical black lines on the lower jaw between scales while ribbon snakes will be a uniform color.  This is an incredibly common snake that can be found anywhere in the area including home gardens. Defense The first defense for this snake is to flee.  If unable to flee and restrained the snake will spray musck and feces on whatever is restraining it and many times bite in defense.  Bites are nothing worse than shallow scratches that heal within a couple days.
(Western Ribbon Snake)