The animal on the cover of C# 3.0 Cookbook, Third Edition, is a garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). Named because their longitudinal stripes resemble those on garters once used to hold up men's socks, garter snakes are easily identified by their distinctive stripes: a narrow stripe down the middle of the back with a broad stripe on each side of it. Color and pattern variations enable them to blend into their native environments, helping them evade predators. They are the most common snake in North America and the only species of snake found in Alaska.
Garter snakes have keeled scales—one or more ridges down the central axis of the scales—giving them a rough texture and lackluster appearance. Adult garter snakes generally range in length between 46 and 130 centimeters (one and a half feet to over four feet). Females are usually larger than males, with shorter tails and a bulge where the body and tail meet.
Female garters are ovoviviparous, meaning they deliver "live" young that have gestated in soft eggs. Upon delivery, most of the eggs and mucous membranes have broken, which makes their births appear live. Occasionally, a baby will be born still inside its soft shell. A female will usually deliver 10 to 40 babies: the largest recorded number of live babies birthed by a garter snake is 98. Once emerging from their mothers, baby garters are completely independent and must begin fending for them-selves. During this time they are most susceptible to predation, and over half of ...