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Sonora semiannulata, Ground snake

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 2 months ago
Ground Snake (Sonora semiannulata)

Tetrapoda: Amniota: Reptila: Squamata: Serpentes: Colubridae



© 2008, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission- Ground snake (Sonora semiannulata)



           8-`8 in. (20.3-46 cm). Small crossbanded, striped, or plain-colored, with a head only slightly wider than neck. Brown, olive, reddish, orange or gray above, lighter on sides. Dorsal pattern varies greatly ---(I) dark crossbands may encircle body, for saddles on back, or be reduced to a single neckband; (2) dark crossbands may be entirely absent; (3) some populations (along lower colorado R.) have a broad beige, red, or orange middorsal stripe and greenish gray or bluish gray sides. Orange-striped individual and a black-and-white crossbanded one found, along with the usual orange and clack crossbanded form, in Owyhee R. drainage in SE Oregon. Plain, crossbanded and striped individuals sometimes all occur at same locality. In Colorado some are found with only an orange dorsal stripe. Baja California populations are generally plain-colored. Usually all types of coloration have a dark blotch or bar (sometimes faint) at the front of each scale, particularly evident on sides. Whitish or yellowish below unmarked or with dark crossbands. Scales smooth and glossy, usually in 15 rows toward front. Anal divided

             Secretive nocturnal snake of arid and semiarid regions, where soil may be rocky, gravelly, or sandy and has some subsurface moisture. In colorado often occurs on hillsides where there are pockets of loose soil. Vegetation may be scant, as on sagebrush plains of Great Basin and in creosote bush desert, but along the lower Colorado R. this snake occurs among thickets of mesquite, arrow weed, and willows, Ranges from prairies through desert plant communities, thornscrub, pinon-juniper to oak-pine zone. Clutch of 3-6 eggs, laid June-Aug. Eats spiders, scorpians, centipedes, crickets, solpugids, grasshoppers, and insect larvae including ant brood. Shallow grooves on outer sides of rear teeth suggest snakes may be venomous, but they are not dangerous to humans.


Distribution in Idaho:






          Western Ground snakes are found in arid habitats usually having loose or sandy soil, ranging from rocky areas (talus slopes, canyon rims and outcroppings) to low desert shrub areas.  These secretive snakes are seldom encountered, but can occasionally be found by turning debris in the daytime, out in the open near sunset, or on desert roads at night.




          Ground Snakes are typically nocturnal and secretive, but they are common throughout their range. Their preferred habitat is dry, rocky areas with loose soil. They are often found on roadsides or in dry drainage ditches at night foraging for food. Their diet consists primarily of invertebrates, such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes, crickets, and insect larvae. They are oviparous, breeding and laying eggs through the summer months.



           Female lays clutch of 4-6 eggs, usually in June, but as late as August in California.  Adults reach sexual maturity in second year.




Stebbins, Robert C. Western Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.


Idaho Museum of Natural History.  Digital Atlas of Idaho. (2008, September 30). http://imnh.isu.edu/digitalatlas/bio/reptile/main/repfram.htm




Arkansas Game & Fish Commission-snake photograph


Created by Rob Nagel

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