Photos by Chris Brown
Scientific name: Arizona elegans occidentalis
Common name: California Glossy Snake
Size: 25.2-38.9 in (64-99 cm)
Distinguishing characters: Smooth, glossy scales; chocolate colored body blotches on a tan or light brown ground color; prominent eye stripe; eyes with slightly vertical pupils; countersunk lower jaw; single anal scale.
Juveniles: Similar to adults, but blotches darker.
Similar species: Pituophis melanoleucas: Has keeled scales; eyes with round pupils; divided anal scale. Hypsiglena torquata: Has a triangular flattened head; vertical pupils; white labial scales.
Additional notes: An uncommon species in focal area, although historically this subspecies was widespread. Primarily nocturnal, it is associated with loose soils in valleys and washes suitable for burrowing. Gentle, calm, and easily handled. This appears to be a species currently in great decline. Surveys for suitable habitat should be conducted and sightings of this species should be verified and recorded.
Return to Snakes
Last update: 05 March 2003