Western patch-nosed snake (Salvadora hexalepis)

The Western patch-nosed snake, Salvadora hexalepis, is a species of nonvenomous colubrid snake, which is endemic to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

Geographic range

It is found in the southwestern United States in the states of Arizona, southern California, Nevada, southern New Mexico, and southwestern Texas. It is also found in northern Mexico in the Mexican states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Sonora.


The following four subspecies are recognized:

  • Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis Cope, 1866
  • Salvadora hexalepis klauberi Bogert, 1945
  • Salvadora hexalepis mojavensis Bogert, 1945
  • Salvadora hexalepis virgultea Bogert, 1935


Adults of Salvadora hexalepis are, on average, 20-46 inches (51–117 cm) in total length; the record total length is 58 in (150 cm).

They have a distinctive, thick scale curved back over the top of the snout, and free at the edges.

All subspecies are yellowish with blackish lateral stripes in various arrangements.

The dorsal scales are smooth, and the anal plate is divided.


The Western patch-nosed snake inhabits arid deserts in its area. It feeds upon lizards, snakes, reptile eggs, and small rodents.


4-10 eggs are laid during spring or early summer and hatch in August through September.


Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Photograph is available under a Creative Commons License from Patrick Dockens.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

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