Hypsiglena Torquata – Night Snake

Hypsiglena Torquata - Night Snake in the united states information

The night snake is a small, mostly nocturnal snake found in the Western United States and in Mexico. Its body is brown with several darker brown spots. While the snake produces a mild venom used to subdue small reptiles, its has no effect on humans.


The body of the night snake is brown, with a double row of dark brown spots on the back and smaller brown spots on either side. The belly is pale yellow in color and unstained. The snake has a characteristic, very dark brown flame pattern. It also has a brown line along its eyes in the same color. The night snake is a slender snake with a thin, flat head.

Hypsiglena Torquata - Night Snake in the united states information
The flat head of the night snake with the brown lines along the eyes and the flame-like pattern. Photo: Philip Kahn


Adult night snakes reach a length of 12-26 inches (30-65 cm). However, most specimens remain under 15 inches (40 cm). Males are usually smaller than females.

Hunting Behavior and Habitat

Hypsiglena torquata is active at dusk and at night and hides under stones and other objects during the day. Its main prey iteams are lizards and their eggs, but also small snakes, amphibians and small invertebrates.. The snake is slightly venomous to small prey but harmless to humans. The snake has no habitat preference and is found in a wide variety of environments.

Hypsiglena Torquata - Night Snake found in California
A night snake that has taken on a lizard in Utah. Photo: Alan Schmierer


Night snakes are mildly venomous snakes and use their venom to subdue small reptiles. For humans and larger pets, however, the small amount of mild venom is absolutely harmless. Generally, the snake is hesitant to attack any larger predator or human and rather escapes. Due to the nocturnal nature of the snake, encounters with humans are rare.

Night snake range in the USA

The night snake can be found in the Western United States and in Mexico. In the U.S., it can be found in the following States: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Scientific classification of Hypsiglena torquata

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Serpentes
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Hypsiglena
  • Species: Hypsiglena torquata
Hypsiglena Torquata – Night Snake

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