THORNSCRUB HOOK-NOSED SNAKE
A small (up to 300 mm or 12" in total length) relatively stocky snake with a bold pattern of black saddles on a light cream to off-white background.
Black saddles interrupt a wide, red to orange stripe on each side of the body. The black saddles are solid and rectangular on the dorsal surface and taper to a point on the lower sides. White spots mark the black saddles on the tapered lateral aspects. A black mask crosses the top of the head and covers the eyes. The ventral surface is pale cream. The pupils are round and the scales are smooth and shiny. The scale on the snout (rostral) is concave on top and noticeably upturned along the leading edge. The subcaudal scales are bifid (divided), distinguishing this snake from the Long-nosed Snake.
This snake only enters Arizona in a small portion of Santa Cruz County near the border with Mexico. In our state it is found at elevations between 3,500' and 5,500'.
In Arizona this snake inhabits rolling mesquite-covered hills and oak-lined drainages within the Madrean Evergreen Woodland and Semidesert Grassland communities. It is usually encountered in areas with gravelly soil.
This secretive ground-dweller spends most of it's time burrowed underneath the soil. It is primarily nocturnal but occasionally encountered on the surface just before sunset. Encounters are often associated with recent rains.
It presumably uses its "hooked" snout to root through surface debris and under rocks and logs for prey which consists of scorpions, spiders, and a variety of insects.
Reproductive behavior is poorly known. It lays clutches of up to 6 eggs.