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Sightings arranged by: Taxonomy Location Date Scientific Name
Lampropeltis splendida — Desert Kingsnake
This species was formerly considered a subspecies of Lampropeltis getula. Pyron and Burbrink elevated L. splendida to a separate species in 2009.
My friend Roger Repp and I saw this snake as it was crossing a road on which we had earlier seen a Big Bend Patch-nosed Snake, a Gila Monster, and a Sonoran Gophersnake.
This individual shows some characteristics of L. splendida and some characteristics of L. californiae. It is perhaps a hybrid between these two species; hybrids are known to occur in this area of Arizona.
There's no doubt that this snake is a full-blooded Desert Kingsnake. It was a gorgeous individual. Its only flaw was a complete inability to stop moving for five seconds so I could get a decent photo. Five seconds! Is that too much to ask?
This youngster was slightly more cooperative for photos, but only slightly. It still never stopped moving for more than a few seconds, but at least it was willing to partially coil up.
I saw the gorgeous adult in the first picture above near dusk as it was gliding across a little-used road. I pulled over and took a few photos as it was moving slowly, but could not encourage it to stop moving completely. Then a car appeared and was closing in on us, so I grabbed the snake quickly and released it at the side of the road. The snake no longer moved slowly, and I got no more photos.
A little later I saw the very small kingsnake in the second picture. It was slightly more cooperative, but only slightly.
- Bartlett, R. D., Tennant, A. 2000. Snakes of North America, Western Region
- Behler, J. L., King, F. W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Degenhardt, W. G., Painter, C. W., Price, A. H. 1996. Amphibians & Reptiles of New Mexico
- Hubbs, B. 2009. Common Kingsnakes: A Natural History of Lampropeltis getula
- Smith, H. M., Brodie, E. D. Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification
- Stebbins, R. C. 2003. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition