Order: Squamata
    suborder: Serpentes
Intriguing, yet often feared and greatly misunderstood snakes have had a long and difficult relationship with man. From the biblical story of the serpent that beguiled Eve to the modern emblem of medicine, the irony in our perception of this magnificent group of vertebrates is boundless. Woven into the myths and legends of the early inhabitants of all the peopled continents, snakes are often believed to hold great power. Of all the powers they have been attributed with, it cannot be argued that they do indeed possess the ability to captivate and vex man.

Without limb, external ears, or even moveable eyelids, snakes are unseemingly well adapted to thrive in the harsh world around them. From fresh water to the sea, from the heights of great mountains to the lowest of deserts, snakes have evolved to survive in the lushest and the most desolate places on earth. Southern California is no exception. From below sea level in the most arid of American deserts to over 10,000’ in the mountains where the water cycle is a major aspect of the habitat and all points in between, snakes have found a way to flourish in their respective niches.

Though many snakes possess the ability to envenomate their prey and would-be predators, very few pose a serious threat to man. In California the only snakes that are potentially lethal to man are the rattlesnakes which are easily distinguished from all other snakes in our area by their distinctive tails, which end in a series of segments that form and effective rattle.

The snakes native to our area include:

Slender Blind Snakes: Leptotyphlopidae
Leptotyphlops humilis cahuilae (Klauber, 1931) - Desert Threadsnake
Leptotyphlops humilis humilis (Baird and Girard, 1853) - Southwestern Threadsnake

Boas & Pythons: Boidae
Charina bottae bottae (Blainville, 1835) - Northern Rubber Boa
Charina bottae umbratica (Klauber, 1943) - Southern Rubber Boa
Lichanura trivirgata gracia (Klauber, 1931) - Desert Rosy Boa
Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca (Cope, 1868) - Coastal Rosy Boa

Colubrids: Colubridae
Arizona elegans candida (Klauber, 1946) - Mojave Glossy Snake
Arizona elegans eburnata (Klauber, 1946) - Desert Glossy Snake
Arizona elegans occidentalis (Blanchard, 1924) - California Glossy Snake
Bogertophis rosaliae (Mocquard, 1899) - Baja California Ratsnake
Chionactis occipitalis annulata (Baird, 1859) - Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake
Chionactis occipitalis occipitalis (Hallowell, 1854) - Mojave Shovel-nosed Snake
Chionactis occipitalis talpina (Klauber, 1951) - Nevada Shovel-nosed Snake
Coluber constrictor mormon (Baird and Girard, 1852) - Western Yellow-bellied Racer
Diadophis punctatus modestus (Bocourt, 1866) - San Bernardino Ring-necked Snake
Diadophis punctatus pulchellus (Baird and Girard, 1853) - Coral-bellied Ring-necked Snake
Diadophis punctatus regalis (Baird and Girard, 1853) - Regal Ring-necked Snake
Diadophis punctatus similis (Blanchard, 1923) - San Diego Ring-necked Snake
Diadophis punctatus vandenburghii (Blanchard, 1923) - Monterey Ring-necked Snake
Hypsiglena torquata deserticola (Tanner, 1944) - Desert Nightsnake
Hypsiglena torquata nuchalata (Tanner, 1943) - California Nightsnake
Lampropeltis getula californiae (Blainville, 1835) - California Kingsnake
Lampropeltis zonata multicincta (Yarrow, 1882) - Sierra Mountain Kingsnake
Lampropeltis zonata multifasciata (Bocourt, 1886) - Coast Mountain Kingsnake
Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra (Zweifel, 1952) - San Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake
Lampropeltis zonata pulchra (Zweifel, 1952) - San Diego Mountain Kingsnake
Masticophis flagellum fuliginosus (Cope, 1895) - Baja California Coachwhip
Masticophis flagellum piceus (Cope, 1892) - Red Racer
Masticophis lateralis lateralis (Hallowell, 1853) - California Striped Racer
Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus (Hallowell, 1852) - Desert Striped Whipsnake
Phyllorhynchus decurtatus (Cope, 1868) - Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake
Pituophis catenifer affinis (Hallowell, 1852) - Sonoran Gophersnake
Pituophis catenifer annectens (Baird and Girard, 1853) - San Diego Gophersnake
Pituophis catenifer catenifer (Blainville, 1835) - Pacific Gophersnake
Pituophis catenifer deserticola (Stejneger, 1893) - Great Basin Gophersnake
Rhinocheilus lecontei lecontei (Baird and Girard, 1853) - Western Long-nosed Snake
Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis (Cope, 1866) - Desert Patch-nosed Snake
Salvadora hexalepis mojavensis (Bogert, 1945) - Mojave Patch-nosed Snake
Salvadora hexalepis virgultea (Bogert, 1935) - Coast Patch-nosed Snake
Sonora semiannulata (Baird and Girard, 1853) - Groundsnake
Tantilla hobartsmithi (Taylor, 1937) - Smith’s Black-headed Snake
Tantilla planiceps (Blainville, 1835) - Western Black-headed Snake
Thamnophis couchii (Kennicott, 1859) - Sierra Gartersnake
Thamnophis elegans elegans (Baird and Girard, 1853) - Mountain Gartersnake
Thamnophis hammondii (Kennicott, 1860) - Two-striped Gartersnake
Thamnophis marcianus marcianus (Baird and Girard, 1853) - Marcy’s Checkered Gartersnake
Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis (Say, 1823) - Red-sided Gartersnake
Trimorphodon biscutatus lambda (Cope, 1886) - Sonoran Lyresnake
Trimorphodon biscutatus lyrophanes (Cope, 1860) - California Lyresnake (vandenburghi)

Pit Vipers: Viperidae
Crotalus atrox (Baird and Girard, 1853) - Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
Crotalus cerastes cerastes (Hallowell, 1854) - Mojave Desert Sidewinder
Crotalus cerastes laterorepens (Klauber, 1944) - Colorado Desert Sidewinder
Crotalus exsul exsul (Garman, 1883) - Peninsular Red Diamond Rattlesnake
Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus (Cope, 1866) - Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake
Crotalus mitchellii stephensi (Klauber, 1930) - Panamint Rattlesnake
Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus (Kennicott, 1861) - Mojave Green Rattlesnake
Crotalus viridis helleri (Meek, 1905) - Southern Pacific Rattlesnake
Crotalus viridis oreganus (Holbrook, 1840) - Northern Pacific Rattlesnake

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