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Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis - Desert Patch-nosed Snake

Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis - Desert Patch-nosed Snake - snake species | gveli | გველი

Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis - Desert Patch-nosed Snake

Nonvenomous

Considered harmless to humans.

Size

Salvadora hexalepis ranges in size from 10 - 46 inches long (25 - 117 cm). Most snakes seen will be around 26 - 36 inches (66 - 91 cm).

Appearance

A fast, moderately-sized slender striped snake with smooth scales, large eyes, and a large scale over the tip of the snout. Well-camouflaged, this snake is pale gray with a broad yellow or tan stripe down the middle of the back, and dark stripes on the sides. The top of the head is gray. The underside is cream, sometimes shading to pale orange at the tail end.

Behavior

Little is known about the natural history of this species. Active during daylight, even in times of extreme heat. Terrestrial, but may climb shrubs in pursuit of prey. Burrows into loose soil. Able to move very quickly. Their acute vision allows them to escape quickly when they feel threatened, making this snake sometimes difficult to capture during the heat of the day. When cornered, they will inflate the body and strike.

Diet

Eats mostly lizards, along with small mammals, and possibly small snakes, nestling birds, and amphibians.

Reproduction

Lays eggs, probably May to August.

Range

This subspecies, Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis - Desert Patch-nosed Snake, occurs in California in the southeast, from the desert slopes of the mountains north to roughly Riverside County, and beyond the state south into Baja California and Sonora, Mexico, and east into southeastern Arizona.

The species Salvadora hexalepis - Western Patch-nosed Snake, is found in southern California, Nevada, extreme southwestern Utah, Arizona, southeastern New Mexico, west Texas, and south into western Mexico, including Baja California.

Habitat

Inhabits open arid and semi-arid areas - deserts, brushland, grassland, and scrub in canyons, rocky hillsides, sandy plains. Salvadora hexalepis occurs at elevations from below sea level to around 7,000 ft. (2,130 m.)

Taxonomic Notes

There are four subspecies of Salvadora hexalepis, with three occuring in California: S. h. hexalepis - Desert Patch-nosed Snake, S. h. mojavensis - Mohave Patch-nosed Snake, and S. h. virgultea - Coast Patch-nosed Snake. S. h. deserticola - Big Bend Patch-nosed Snake, which occurs in the Southwest, is recognized by many taxonomists as a unique species, Salvadora deserticola, leaving them to recognize only three subspecies of Salvadora hexalepis.

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