Chionactis occipitalis talpina - Nevada Shovel-nosed Snake
Considered harmless to humans.
Adults are 11 - 17 inches long (25 - 43 cm)
Smooth, shiny scales, not keeled. The ground color is cream or yellowish and the body is circled with dark brown bands, usually with faint brownish crossbands between them which might show some red color. Some of the dark bands completely encircle the body, though many do not. The head is narrow with a large spade-like scale on the tip of a flat shovel-like snout, a countersunk lower jaw, and nasal valves.
Nocturnal. Burrows underground in daytime, but occasionally found by day in shaded areas. Smooth scales, flat shout, concave abdomen, and nasal valves are adaptations that allow for a quick swimming movement through loose sand, with an s-shaped, side-to-side movement. Often seen crossing desert roads at night.
Eats invertebrates: insects, scorpions, spiders, centipedes, larval insects and moths, often while the snake is burrowing.
Lays eggs late spring through summer.
This subspecies, Chionactis occipitalis talpina - Nevada Shovel-nosed Snake, is found in east central California from the northern Panamint valley to the general area of Death Valley National Park and east into southwestern Nevada.
The species Chionactis occipitalis - Western Shovel-nosed Snake, occurs from the Southern California deserts into Nevada, western Arizona, to Baja California and northern Sonora, Mexico.
Inhabits dry desert habitats with loose sand and often with little vegetation - washes, dunes, sandy flats, rocky hillsides.