Photos of garter snake engulfing adult vole.

In the yard at the Big Creek gate cabin, on May 31, 2003, a Western Aquatic Garter Snake (Thamnophis couchii) caught an adult California Vole (Microtus californicus) by the side of the head. These pictures show how the relatively small snake engulfed the seemingly outsized prey.


 At 3:50 pm we saw this vole struggling in the grip of a garter snake. (5-31-03)

 By gripping with its rear teeth, the garter snake was able to bend open the front end of its jaws and reposition the teeth. (5-31-03)

 In this way it could reposition its bite without letting go its grip.Once the snake got its bite over the nose of the vole it stopped struggling (4:05 pm; 5-31-03)

 The snake then slowly engulfed the vole.

 Only after ompletely swallowing the vole, did the snake crawl away to the cover of the vegetation. 5-31-03