Field notes and photography by Bryan D. Hughes

A Baby Glossy Snake

Pretty little thing … a tiny Glossy Snake, Arizona elegans, out on the crawl what must be moments after leaving the egg.

Arizona elegans

While I’m on the subject, here’s another example of this species that I found in New Mexico in 2010 of the “Kansas” subspecies. This is a snake that even one of the snake books I own confuses with the somewhat similarly patterned Gophersnake, but some familiarity with glossies and there’s nothing about them that is the same in the least bit. Most of them have that wonderfully clean outlines to the dorsal spots, and they really can be quite beautiful out in the grasslands.

Arizona elegans

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16 Responses to “A Baby Glossy Snake”

  1. marianne says:

    I’m really happy to have found your site. I’m already getting an education re our local reps! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Bryan says:

    Thanks! There are so many of them that live here that go completely unnoticed. Have you ever seen a lyresnake?

  3. marianne says:

    No I haven’t so I looked it up and they sure are beautiful! From reading the description on Reptiles of AZ (, it doesn’t sound like one I’m likely to encounter during the day but I’ll be looking.

  4. Bryan says:

    The reason I asked is that the lyresnake would be, what I would say, a perfect example of a really cool snake that is very common around this area that almost nobody ever sees or has heard of. In real life they’re one of the neatest little things you’ll ever see. I have one that is about 2 and a half feet long and pencil-thin, with HUGE eyeballs and visible swells behind them (they are mildly venomous). Evolution in action

  5. marianne says:

    Cool! I hope I’m lucky enough to see one in the wild. Maybe a night hike in the future!

  6. Michael says:

    A lyresnake would be an awesome find. I’m curious about a couple things… what do you feed yours? And, you’re saying that the lyresnake is evolving into a venomous species?

  7. Bryan says:

    Marianne, do you know of any places near where you’re at that have night-time access to that range? If so, don’t mention them here of course, but I would love to know.

  8. Bryan says:

    The lyresnake is a venomous species, just not too dangerous to us. In my own observation with my lyre, a lizard getting the chew stops breathing every bit as fast, if not faster, than a mouse envenomated by one of the rattlesnakes. They’re one of the many colubrids that are convergently finding an advantage to toxic saliva and developing advanced delivery methods.

  9. Michael says:

    So whats to say that the lyresnake is evolving? I don’t see how that comes into play here. Adaptation/microevolution would certainly make sense, but macroevolution (changing from one kind of animal to a completely different kind) seems a bit far-fetched in this instance.

  10. Bryan says:

    I’m not sure how to answer this. Evolution on a macro level is not different than adaptation, just over longer periods of time. The lyresnake developing toxic saliva and eventually venom is not a completely different animal, just changing to meet the demands of life.

  11. Michael says:

    I agree, the lyresnake developing toxic saliva and then venom is an adaptation. But I don’t see macroevolution as being the same as adaptation but just taking place over longer periods of time. I would think that while a snake can adapt to its environment by developing longer fangs, a slimmer body, or larger eyes, a snake is still a snake. Which still doesn’t leave much evidence for macroevolution…

    Btw, I’d love to see any lyresnake pics of yours 😀

  12. Bryan says:

    I would encourage you to do some research about evolution, and you will find plenty of evidence … an overwhelming amount even. It is not my interest to engage in a religious debate on my own blog, as one cannot argue matters of faith with rational argument.

  13. Michael says:

    I have researched evolution rather extensively. While I would love to continue a rational, scientific debate such as this, I respect that you have no interest to do so. In any event, I love your website and excellent photos, and I’m looking forward to a good year for reptiles!

  14. Crotalus says:

    Bryan, I had a couple of Lyre Snakes over the years, and they are truly beautiful. But they are always cantankerous and nervous; my pets never relaxed around people, so I gave up keeping that snake as a pet.

  15. Vickie Edson says:

    How long might a glossy snake stay in luggage? My daughter was in Taos, NM one night. They left Tuesday morning, Aug. 2 and traveled to Phoenix, staying one night there at a nice hotel. They packed their things and they were left in the van until that evening, Aug 3rd, when they went to the airport. She was there 3 hours before boarding a flight to eastern NC with a stopover in Atlanta. She placed her luggage on the bed at home and about 30 minutes ago when she removed the luggage and the decorative pillows off the bed, there was an 18 inch glossy snake lying there. We identified it through your excellent pictures as well as some on another site. Her carry-on had a section on the bottom that she didn’t use and stayed unzipped. The surrounding area that was most favorable for a snake to be available to crawl into her bag was in Taos. But would it have stayed there that long? Could it have been in the overhead bins in the aircraft? She had a 3 hour drive from the NC airport to home on coast, and it obivously didn’t crawl out then. We’re just so perplexed that this occurred! Thanks for your help.

  16. Bryan says:


    I emailed you about this, FYI.

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