Glossy Snake
Arizona elegans

distribution map of Arizona elegans

Arizona Glossy Snake

Arizona elegans. Photographer: Dr. Carl S. Lieb. Hudspeth County, Texas. 30 June 1991.


Physical Characteristics:

This snake can grow to about 178 cm. It is primarily nocturnal but can be seen during the day on occasion. It is commonly known as the Glossy Snake. Its scales are shiny, giving it a very clean appearance. It usually has brown or gray spots with dark borders, but its color with the color of the soil in its habitat.

Geographic Range:

Central and southern California and the southern parts of Nevada and Utah east to Nebraska. It also is found in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and in Mexico from Sinaloa to San Luis Potosí.


It prefers being underground in semiarid open areas that are sandy or with loamy soil. Its habitats also include shrubby desert, sagebrush flats, and desert grasslands.


Like all snakes, the Glossy Snake is carnivorous, eating mainly lizards and some small mammals.

Reproductive Characteristics:

It usually breeds in late spring and lays its eggs in summer. They hatch in late summer early fall. It lays about 2-23 eggs which produce about 10-20 young that are about 25 cm in length.


It is not endangered, but there has been a decrease in its numbers.


Dolores Contreras, Graduate Student.

Last Update: 14 Jul 2009