CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California






Patch-nosed Snakes found in California

 










observation link

 

Not Dangerous
(Non-poisonous) 
Patch-nosed Snakes do not have venom that is dangerous to most humans.

This fast-moving snake is active in the daytime in deserts, grassland, sagebrush, and pinyon-juniper. It is usually seen on the ground, often sunning on roads in the early morning.

Three subspecies occur in California. The side striping will help to identify the subspecies as will the location. Check the map to determine which one occurs in your area.
Enlarged scale on tip of nose.
Desert Patch-nosed Snake - Salvadora hexalepsis hexalepsis
Mohave Patch-nosed Snake - Salvadora hexalepsis mojavensis
Coast Patch-nosed Snake - Salvadora hexalepsis virgultea
 
 
  Range

Red: S. h. hexalepis -
 Desert Patch-nosed Snake


Purple: S. h. mojavensis -
 Mohave Patch-nosed Snake

Orange: S. h. virgultea -
 Coast Patch-nosed Snake


Violet: Old unconfirmed S. h. virgultea sight record

 
Keys to the three Subspecies of Salvadora hexalepis found in California *
  Desert Patch-nosed Snake
Salvadora hexalepsis hexalepsis
Mohave Patch-nosed Snake
Salvadora hexalepsis mojavensis
Coast Patch-nosed Snake
Salvadora hexalepsis virgultea
Top of Head Color Gray Gray Brown
Middorsal Stripe Width 3 scales wide 3 scales wide 1 and 2 half-scale rows wide
Loreal Scale Divided Divided Divided into 2 - 4 scales
Upper labial Scales 9 upper labials - 1 reaches the eye 9 upper labials - 0 reach the eye 9 upper labials - 1 reaches the eye
Dorsal Pattern of Stripes   Sometimes indistinct and, around the edges of its range, especially in the eastern part, the stripes are obscured by crossbars.  
Sides Stripe on side usually on 3rd scale row Stripe on side usually on 3rd scale row The sides may be dark on all but the lowermost 1 or 2 scale rows

* Based on information from:

Stebbins, Robert C. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.

Brown, Philip R. A Field Guide to Snakes of California. Gulf Publishing Co., 1997.


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