HOODED NIGHTSNAKE Hypsiglena
A small (up to about 600 mm or 23" in total length) gray, or tan snake with two rows of small, dark, gray-brown blotches on the back (dorsal blotches). The neck is marked with a broad collar which is composed of a single blotch that is rounded on the back edge.
A mid-dorsal line extends anteriorly from the front edge of the collar. A dark gray-brown bar extends back from each eye and tapers to a point where it meets the collar. The underside is plain pale gray. The head is relatively flat. The pupils are vertically elliptical and the scales are smooth.
This snake is distributed across most of Cochise County, Santa Cruz County, and southeastern Pima County at elevations ranging from about 3,000' to about 8,500'.
The Hooded Nightsnake is found in biotic communities ranging from Sonoran Desertscrub, through the grasslands, and woodlands, and into cool Petran Montane Conifer Forest. It is found in an equally wide variety of terrain types ranging from flat, open, desert to steep, rocky, wooded slopes. It seems to be most abundant in moderate terrain within desertscrub and Semidesert Grassland communities.
This strictly nocturnal snake hibernates during the cold months of late fall and winter. It is often encountered on remote roadways at night. It is mildly venomous but rarely bites when captured and its venom is not considered to be dangerous to humans.
The Hooded Nightsnake uses mild venom injected by enlarged teeth in the rear upper jaw to subdue lizards and small snakes. It also eats reptile eggs, frogs, and a variety of insects.
Mating probably takes place in spring and a clutch of up to about 9 eggs is laid in spring or summer.
This newly discovered species has not yet been named (Mulcahy 2008).