California night snake

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California night snake
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Hypsiglena
Species: H. ochrorhyncha
Subspecies: H. o. nuchalata
Trinomial name
Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha nuchalata
W.W. Tanner, 1943
Hypsiglena torquata nuchalata distribution.svg
California night snake range
Synonyms
  • Hypsiglena nuchalatus
    W.W. Tanner, 1943
  • Hypsiglena torquata nuchalata
    A.H. Wright & A.A. Wright, 1957[1]

The California night snake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha nuchalata) is a subspecies of small colubrid snake native to California.[2]

Description[edit]

The California night snake grows to a total length of 12 to 26 inches (30 to 66 cm), with hatchlings about 7 inches in total length.[3]

The snake has a narrow flat head, smooth dorsal scales in 19 rows, and eyes with vertically elliptical pupils.[3] They are rear-fanged and considered to be venomous, but not dangerous to humans.[3]

Its color may be light gray, light brown, tan, or cream, often matching the substrate of the region, with dark brown or dark grey blotches down the back and sides.[3] The underside is whitish or yellowish and unmarked, and they usually have a pair of large dark markings on the neck, and a dark bar through or behind the eyes.[3]

Behavior[edit]

As their common name implies, they are a primarily nocturnal snake.[3]

Diet[edit]

Their diet consists of primarily lizards, but they will also eat smaller snakes, and occasionally soft bodied insect.

Habitat[edit]

They prefer semiarid habitats with rocky soils.

Reproduction[edit]

They are an oviparous subspecies that breeds from April to September.

Geographic range[edit]

The Coast night snake ranges throughout western California, ringing the central valley, but is not found in the valley itself.[3] It is one of two night snake species in the state. The other is the desert night snake, Hypsiglena chlorophaea.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wright, A.H., and A.A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Comstock. Ithaca and London. 1,105 pp. (in 2 volumes) (Hypsiglena torquata nuchalata, pp. 322-324, Figure 99. + Map 30. on p. 315.)
  2. ^ ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). www.itis.gov.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha nuchalata - California Nightsnake". Archived from the original on 2008-04-13. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Tanner, W.W. 1943. Two new species of Hypsiglena from western North America. Great Basin Naturalist 4 (1 & 2): 49-54. (Hypsiglena nuchalatus sp. nov., pp. 49-53.)

External links[edit]