Sonora semiannulata semiannulata - Variable Groundsnake
Considered harmless to humans. There are shallow grooves on the outer sides of the rear teeth which indicates that this snake may produce a mild venom, but it is not dangerous to humans.
4 - 18 inches long (10 - 46 cm) including hatchlings. Typically 8 - 12 inches.
A small snake with a round body, smooth glossy scales, and a head barely wider than the neck. Variable in color and pattern - this snake may be banded, striped, or solid in color. Often several colors and patterns are found in the same location. Some examples of colors and patterns are: banded with black and gray or yellowish with or without reddish saddles along the back on the light bands; solid grayish with a darker head; banded with orange or red and black; banded with pink and gray; reddish-orange above with gray sides; and gray with a thin orange stripe along the back. The underside can be whitish or yellowish with or without dark crossbands.
Secretive but not uncommon. Terrestrial, remaining underground in the daytime, surfacing at night or during heavy rains. Sometimes seen on roads at night, often discovered beneath surface debris, especially rocks.
Eats small invertebrates, including spiders, scorpions, centipedes, crickets, and insect larvae.
Lays eggs from June - August.
In California, occurs from eastern San Diego county east to the Colorado River, north into the Mojave Desert as far west as 29 palms and Barstow, and north along the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Nevada. Ranges farther south into Baja California, north into Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas, and south into Mexico.
Inhabits areas with surface cover and some moisture: grassland, riverbottoms, desert flats, ranchland, sand hummocks, open rocky hillsides with loose soil, sandy washes, dry streambeds, and riparian thickets.
Two subspecies of Sonora semiannulata are recognized since 2000: S. s. semiannulata - Variable Groundsnake, and S. s. taylori - Southern Texas Groundsnake.