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Hypsiglena torquata jani.jpg
Texas night snake
Hypsiglena jani texana
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Dipsadinae
Genus: Hypsiglena
Cope, 1860
Hypsiglena torquata distribution.svg

Hypsiglena is a genus of small, rear-fanged, colubrid snakes commonly referred to as night snakes. The genus consists of nine species, and subspecies have been maintained pending further investigation.[2][3]

Species and subspecies[edit]

Geographic range[edit]

Hypsiglena are found throughout the southwestern and western United States, from Texas and Kansas, west to California, north to Washington, and south into Mexico, as well as on islands off the coasts of Mexico.


The preferred habitat of night snakes is semiarid desert regions with rocky and sandy soils.


Night snakes typically do not exceed a total length (including tail) of 40 cm (16 in). They are slender-bodied with a flattened head, and have small eyes with vertical pupils. Their color varies depending on their locality, often matching the soil color of their native habitat. They occur in various shades of gray, and brown, with dark brown, gray or black blotches on the back and the sides. Many also have distinctive black markings on the neck region.


Hypsiglena are nocturnal and terrestrial.


The diet of night snakes consists primarily of lizards, but they will also consume smaller snakes, and amphibians.


The venom of Hypsiglena is not considered to be dangerous to humans.


  1. ^ Tanner WW (1944). "A Taxonomic Study of the Genus Hypsiglena ". Great Basin Naturalist 5 (3 & 4): 25-92.
  2. ^ Mulcahy DG (2008). "Phylogeography and species boundaries of the western North American nightsnake (Hypsiglena torquata): Revisiting the subspecies concept". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 46 (3): 1095–1115.
  3. ^ Mulcahy DG, Martínez-Gómez JE, Aguirre-León G, Cervantes-Pasqualli JA, Zug GR (2014). "Rediscovery of an endemic vertebrate from the remote Islas Revillagigedo in the eastern Pacific Ocean: The Clarión Nightsnake, with conservation and systematic implications". PLOS ONE 9 (5): e97682.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cope ED (1860). "Catalogue of the Colubridæ in the Museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, with notes and descriptions of new species. Part 2". Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 12: 241-266. (Hypsiglena, new genus, p. 246).

External links[edit]