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Western Patch-nosed Snake

Natural History

The Western Patch-nosed is a medium length (18 - 46 inches), non-poisonous, slender snake with a wide light tan or cream colored stripe down the middle of the back (dorsal stripe), and two darker stripes on each side. The side stripes usually consist of a thick dark stripe above and a thinner dark stripe below. The belly is usually pale cream. An enlarged rostral (nose) scale curls up covering the snout. The eyes are large relative to the size of the head. The snake is found in western and southern Arizona in flats, foothills, and on mountains from the Sonoran Desert ranging up into high desert, sagebrush, and juniper/oak woodland.

Some scientists believe that the distinctive "patch nose" or enlarged nose scale, is an adaptation for excavating eggs.

Western Patch-nosed Snakes are very active in the daytime, like racers and whipsnakes. They are mostly ground-dwellers and move rapidly. To regulate their temperature, they may bask in the open or bury themselves in warm sand. Patchnose snakes regularly feed on the eggs of lizards and other snakes. They do most of their foraging in the morning and late afternoon, when lizards are active.

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