1996 32¢ San Francisco Garter Snake
Issue Date: October 2, 1996
City: San Diego, CA
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
At one time the San Francisco garter snake could be found throughout the San Francisco Peninsula, ranging from northern San Mateo County to Ano Nuevo Point. However, much of its habitat has been displaced, and today it only survives in the wild scattered throughout 20 known locations.
Extremely wary, this reclusive reptile prefers the tall undergrowth – cattails, bulrushes, and spike rushes – found growing around ponds, small lakes, and marshes. As with many endangered species, urban development has destroyed much of the San Francisco garter snake’s habitat. Wetlands have been filled in for housing and industry, streams have been diverted, and much of the undergrowth and brush has been eliminated to make way for recreational areas.
One of the most beautiful garter snakes, with its wide greenish-yellow stripe bordered by two broad red stripes, the San Francisco garter snake is also threatened by reptile dealers and snake fanciers. Strict enforcement of the laws protecting the species however, has lessened these threats, and recovery programs have further increased the snake’s chance for survival. In fact, if protected populations continue to remain stable, the San Francisco garter snake will most likely be “downlisted” to Threatened.