Field notes and photography by Bryan D. Hughes

Faces of Glossy Snakes

Here’s just a little bit of variation: two fairly common looking glossy snakes. One of the cool things about these guys is that shovel-nosed face and recessed lower jaw, perfect for nosing around in soft sand looking for prey. Like any animal, they can have a fair amount of variation between them. These two are pretty typical examples of glossies from two types of habitat, both in the same county.

This first one is more typical of upper grasslands. Big, mostly brown, with less distinct coloration.

Glossy Snake

This one is from a little lower in the desert, out in the Colorado river desertscrub – a place you’d mistake for a dead zone if you didn’t know better. In my experience, they tend to be a little more vivid in color and contrast, especially the young ones. This one is an adult, and still has a lot of that nice, red coloration between the scales.

Arizona elegans

I’m not sure why, but for a few years, I saw very few of these … then suddenly they are everywhere. Last Spring they had to be one of the most ocmmon colubrids I found, aside from Spotted Leafnosed Snakes and Longnose.

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