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Western Shovel-nosed Snake Chionactis occipitalis


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Family: Colubridae, Colubrid Snakes view all from this family

Description Yellow/whitish. 21+ brownish/black saddle-shaped crossbands on back. Flattened snout. 15 rows of smooth scales. Divided anal plate.

Dimensions 25.4-43.2cm. (10-17")

Subspecies Mojave - 25+ crossbands on back. California to Nevada and Arizona.
Colorado Desert - 25 or less crossbands. California, Arizona to Mexico.
Nevada - Dark brown crossbands, light in-between. Nevada to California.
Tucson - Black crossbands with narrow crossbands in-between. Arizona.

Breeding Lays 2-4 eggs in summer.

Habitat Arid deserts, sand dunes and sandy washes particularly filled with mesquite-creosote bushes.

Range Nevada to Baja Caifornia & Sonora, Mexico.

Discussion Burrows easily due to smooth scales and flat belly. Mostly nocturnal. Diet of centipedes, scorpions and other insects. Will bite persistently if threatened or handles but bite is not especially harmful.