Arizona Snakes–Checklist and Conservation Status

By Garry Rogers

Arizona Snake Conservation

Kingsnake

Kingsnake

Snakes form an important element in the flow of energy through Earth’s web of life.  Normally, they help control rodent and amphibian populations while serving as food for larger carnivores.  Things aren’t normal anymore.  Rodent, snake, and carnivore populations are declining and becoming separated by the assault from human activities ranging from habitat destruction for roads and buildings, to direct predation by domestic cats and dogs.  Thus, human activities are severing local and global connections within the web.   The total effect is difficult to predict.


The kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae) in the photograph, or a sibling, has patrolled around our house from a nest under the front bridge for 15 years.  Owls, hawks, gophersnakes, and various mammals depend on our rodents (and some birds).  We also have cats.  Our cats are growing old and hunt less, but they are also less territorial, and neighborhood cats are beginning to hunt here.  Our local businesses, land owners, and real estate agents are doing all they can to encourage growth of our human population.  The domestic cat population will grow too.  I haven’t seen a young kingsnake for several years, and one day there will be none.

Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) lists 76 Arizona snake species and subspecies.  AZGFD says 21 species are critically imperiled, and 50 are of immediate or possible long term concern.  Once again, I have to point out the low conservation value of the U. S. Endangered Species Act (see the ESA portion of the numbers table).

In previous Arizona snake posts, I used species data from several sources.  Species and numbers vary slightly across sources, but I’ve decided to use only the AZGFD information.  The  differences between sources aren’t great.  Using only one source, year-to-year comparisons will be more accurate.

Arizona Snake Numbers

  • World:  ≈3,000
  • U. S.:  ≈300
  • Arizona:  76
  • AZGFD Species Imperiled:  50 (66%)
  • ESA Species Listed Endangered:  0
  • ESA Species Listed Threatened:  3

Arizona Snake References

Blog post about Arizona rattlesnake conservation.

Click for list of conservation Status Symbols (AZGFD and ESA).

A R I Z O N A   S N A K E S

SCIENTIFIC NAME

COMMON NAME

AZ

ESA

Arizona elegans

Glossy Snake

S5

Chilomeniscus stramineus

Variable Sandsnake

S4

Chionactis occipitalis

Western Shovel-nosed Snake

S3S4

Chionactis occipitalis klauberi

Tucson Shovel-nosed Snake

S1

C*

Chionactis palarostris

Sonoran Shovel-nosed Snake

S1

Chionactis palarostris organica

Organ Pipe Shovel-nosed Snake

S1

Coluber bilineatus

Sonoran Whipsnake

S5

Coluber constrictor

Racer

S1

Coluber constrictor flaviventris

Eastern Yellowbelly Racer

S1

Coluber flagellum

Coachwhip

S5

Coluber flagellum cingulum

Sonoran Coachwhip

S4

Coluber flagellum lineatulus

Lined Coachwhip

S2

Coluber flagellum piceus

Red Racer

S5

Coluber taeniatus

Striped Whipsnake

S4

Crotalus atrox

Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake

S5

Crotalus cerastes

Sidewinder

S5

Crotalus cerastes cerastes

Mohave Desert Sidewinder

S3S4

Crotalus cerastes cercobombus

Sonoran Sidewinder

S5

Crotalus cerastes laterorepens

Colorado Desert Sidewinder

S5

Crotalus cerberus

Arizona Black Rattlesnake

S5

Crotalus lepidus

Rock Rattlesnake

S3

Crotalus lepidus klauberi

Banded Rock Rattlesnake

S3

Crotalus mitchellii

Speckled Rattlesnake

S5

Crotalus molossus

Black-tailed Rattlesnake

S5

Crotalus oreganus abyssus

Grand Canyon Rattlesnake

S4

Crotalus oreganus lutosus

Great Basin Rattlesnake

S4

Crotalus pricei

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake

S2

Crotalus scutulatus

Mohave Rattlesnake

S5

Crotalus tigris

Tiger Rattlesnake

S5

Crotalus viridis

Prairie Rattlesnake

S1

Crotalus willardi

Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake

S2

PS

Crotalus willardi obscurus

New Mexico Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake

S1

LT

Crotalus willardi willardi

Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake

S1S2

Diadophis punctatus

Ring-necked Snake

S4

Gyalopion canum

Chihuahuan Hook-nosed Snake

S3

Gyalopion quadrangulare

Thornscrub Hook-nosed Snake

S1

Heterodon kennerlyi

Mexican Hog-nosed Snake

S3

Hypsiglena chlorophaea loreala

Mesa Verde Nightsnake

S1

Hypsiglena sp. nov.

Hooded Nightsnake

S4

Lampropeltis californiae

California Kingsnake

S5

Lampropeltis getula

Common Kingsnake

SNA

Lampropeltis getula nigrita

Western Black Kingsnake

S3

Lampropeltis pyromelana

Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake

S3

Lampropeltis pyromelana infralabialis

Utah Mountain Kingsnake

S1

Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana

Arizona Mountain Kingsnake

S2S3

Lampropeltis splendida

Desert Kingsnake

S4

Lampropeltis triangulum

Milksnake

S2

Lampropeltis triangulum celaenops

New Mexico Milksnake

S1

Lampropeltis triangulum taylori

Utah Milksnake

S2

Lichanura trivirgata

Rosy Boa

S1S2

SC

Micruroides euryxanthus

Sonoran Coralsnake

S5

Oxybelis aeneus

Brown Vinesnake

S1

Phyllorhynchus browni

Saddled Leaf-nosed Snake

S5

Phyllorhynchus decurtatus

Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake

S5

Pituophis catenifer

Gophersnake

S5

Rena humilis

Western Threadsnake

S5

Rhinocheilus lecontei

Long-nosed Snake

S5

Salvadora grahamiae

Eastern Patch-nosed Snake

S4

Salvadora hexalepis

Western Patch-nosed Snake

S5

Salvadora hexalepis deserticola

Big Bend Patch-nosed Snake

S3S4

Senticolis triaspis

Green Ratsnake

S3

Senticolis triaspis intermedia

Northern Green Ratsnake

S3

Sistrurus catenatus

Massasauga

S1

No

Sistrurus catenatus edwardsii

Desert Massasauga

S1

Sonora semiannulata

Western Groundsnake

S5

Tantilla hobartsmithi

Smith’s Black-headed Snake

S5

Tantilla nigriceps

Plains Black-headed Snake

S2

Tantilla wilcoxi

Chihuahuan Black-headed Snake

S1

Tantilla yaquia

Yaqui Black-headed Snake

S2

Thamnophis cyrtopsis

Black-necked Gartersnake

S5

Thamnophis elegans

Terrestrial Gartersnake

S5

Thamnophis elegans vagrans

Wandering Gartersnake

S5

Thamnophis eques

Mexican Gartersnake

S1

SC

Thamnophis eques megalops

Northern Mexican Gartersnake

S1

PT

Thamnophis marcianus

Checkered Gartersnake

S5

Thamnophis rufipunctatus

Narrow-headed Gartersnake

S1

PT

6 thoughts on “Arizona Snakes–Checklist and Conservation Status

  1. Pingback: Keep Large Constrictor Snakes Out of the Pet Trade | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

  2. Pingback: Arizona Game & Fish Dept Seeks Comments on Hunt/Capture Regs | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

  3. Pingback: Arizona Wildlife in Danger | The Blog Farm

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