Arizona elegans philipi - Painted Desert Glossy Snake
The Painted Desert glossy snake is typically a light tan brown in color, with darker brown blotches down the length of the back. This subspecies usually has around 60 blotches, more than other subspecies. Each blotch is usually edged with black. Their underside is usually solid cream or white in color. Their coloration can vary, lighter or darker, depending on the soil and elevation of their localized habitat, with specimens from higher elevations often being darker in color. They can grow from 20 to 35 inches in length (50 to 90 cm). They have a thin body, smooth scales, and eyes with round pupils.
It is found in the southwestern United States, from the far western tip of Texas, through New Mexico and into Arizona, as well as into northern Mexico. Its range overlaps that of other glossy snake subspecies, and interbreeding is likely. Thus, distinguishing subspecies which share range is often difficult.
Their preferred habitat is sandy and rocky arid regions, it is often found in areas of lightly vegetated with creosote and sagebrush. Their diet consists of lizards, and small rodents. They are nocturnal, and can often be found foraging in roadside ditches in the late evening. Mating occurs in the spring, and the female lays a clutch of up to 24 eggs which hatch in the fall. Hatchlings are 9-11 inches (23-28 cm) in length.