USA I.D request

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USA I.D request

Postby Iggy » Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:14 pm

Recently received this query via our website - wonder if any of our US members can help out with advice, or supply me with an email where Deana can email you directly. Sounds to me like one of the milk snakes, but I'm really not familiar with US geography and snake distributions, certainly not sufficient to try to help out with relatively little info :) Credit will be given to SAReptiles/members of course :)


Thank you for reading my letter! Outside of the hermitage yesterday morning a dead snake was discovered. Relatively speaking it was small and skinny. About 12 inches long. The snake had a pattern from tip of head it was black and had patterned rings of black and red..black as I said beginning at the head and so forth. I live on the Mojave Desert in the Hi Desert region of Victorville, California. With that information, Sir, would you be able to identify the classification and tell me if it is venomous? May you be blessed with peace love and kindness this day! Thanks for your help! Deana
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Re: USA I.D request

Postby Westley Price » Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:32 pm

My first thought was a young Mud Snake (Farancia abacura), but I doubt they occur in California.

From the sounds of it, I would guess it is a Variable Snadsnake (Chilomeniscus stramineus)

Here is a picture, owner's name displayed on photo.

Image

Or possibly a Variable Ground Snake (Sonora semiannulata)

Owner's name displayed on photo.

Image
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Re: USA I.D request

Postby rolandslf » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:55 pm

I would say that it is one of the Californian Mountain King Snakes. Lampropeltis zonata.
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Re: USA I.D request

Postby WW » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:49 pm

Lampropeltis zonata has obvious white bands as well as red and black - Chilomeniscus or Sonora seem far more likely, and the latter has a black snout judging from those photos.
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Re: USA I.D request

Postby Iggy » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:48 am

Thanks all, I have referred Deana to this link, hopefully this will resolve her question, though I suggested a photo would be a much easier way to provide positive ID. Thanks again!
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http://www.snakes-uncovered.com
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Re: USA I.D request

Postby Viridovipera » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:17 am

Your snake is definitely Chionactis occipitalis occipitalis, the Mojave shovel nosed snake.

They're variable in coloration, it looks like that orange one is a real stunner.

Here's a link with more information: http://www.californiaherps.com/snakes/p ... talis.html
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Re: USA I.D request

Postby croteseeker » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:02 pm

There are actually two possibilities on this one. Chilomeniscus and Chionactis can both be ruled out.

Chilomeniscus stramineus doesn't live anywhere near there and nobody who's ever seen one in real life would refer to it as, "skinny." The first photo that Westley posted does a pretty good job illustrating the reason why. They're actually very short and fat. A 12" individual would be a true monster sand snake.

Chionactis occipitalis occipitalis is black and yellow, with small (tiny) amounts of orange. The shovelnose that is known to have that much orange coloration is the Colorado desert subspecies (Chionactis occipitalis annulata), but they don't live there, either. Besides, Both Chionactis and Chilomeniscus have yellow snouts.

Westley's second guess, Sonora semiannulata semiannulata, would seem to be the most likely. It's range ends right around Victorville, but it should still be found there. They are extremely variable, but black heads and red and black banding are very common.

Another possibility is the Long-nosed snake, Rhinocheilus lecontei. They come in two natural color phases. One, with little to no red, is called the, "clarus," phase, while the other, with little to no cream color, is called the, "lecontei," phase. The latter is a definite possibility, as I've seen some that were solid red and black. But they grow much larger than 12", so if it's a Long-nosed snake it's a neonate or a first-year juvie.

Hope that helps narrow down the search, Iggy. Let us know what you find out. :smt006
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