Rhinocheilus Lecontei – Long-Nosed Snake

Rhinocheilus Lecontei - Long-Nosed Snake information

The long-nosed snake is a nonvenomous snake found in arid habitats in the Western United States. It has alternating black and red color patterns (crossbands or rectangles) on a white or cream-colored background.

Description

The body of the long-nosed snake is characeristically colored with red, black and cream-colors. The snake has several alternating red and black rectangular shapes. In some specimen, the alternating colors can look more like crossbands or rings. The red colors are usually white or cream-colored scales with a red spot in the center. The belly of the snake is yellow, cream-colored or white and black.

black red or orange stiped snake with white or cream colored belly in New Mexico is a long-nosed snake
The red, white and black long-nosed snake. Photo: Patrick Alexander

As its common name suggests, the long-nosed snake is characterized by an elongated “nose”. Even though it doesn’t have a nose, its snout is long and slightly upturned and the mouth is retracted. The eyes are red or orange with black and round pupils.

Rhinocheilus Lecontei - Long-Nosed Snake head red pupils
The long “nose” of the long-nosed snake. Photo: Patrick Alexander

Size

Adult long-nosed snakes reach an average length of 20-30 inches (50-75 cm).

Hunting behavior and habitat

Long-nosed snakes are nocturnal and terrestrial reptiles that feed on small lizards and amphibians and occasionally on rodents. Their habitat consists of scrubland, hot desert areas and drier parts of savannas. They live under rocks, wood stumps and in burrows of rodents.

Bite

The long-nosed snake is a relatively small and nonvenomous snake. Even when handled by humans or larger pets, the snake does not have the instinct to bite. As many other small and nonvenomous snakes, the long-nosed snake will release a foul-smelling musk from its cloaca when it feels threatened. The intense small should deter predators. Even in the unlikely case that the snake bites through human skin, it will not have any significant medical effects.

Rhinocheilus Lecontei - Long-Nosed Snake black and red stripes
A long-nosed snake found in California. Photo: Tristan Loper

Long-nosed snake range in the USA

The long-nosed snake can be found in Mexico and in the United States in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Southeastern Colorado, Southwestern Kansas, Oklahoma, California, Nevada, Utah and Idaho.

Scientific classification of Rhinocheilus lecontei

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Serpentes
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Rhinocheilus
  • Species: Rhinocheilus lecontei

As of 2020, the snake does not have any recognized subspecies. The formerly valid subspecies Rhinocheilus lecontei lecontei (Western long-nosed snake) and Rhinocheilus lecontei tesselatus (Texas long-nosed snake) have been synonymized by Manier in 2004.

Rhinocheilus Lecontei – Long-Nosed Snake

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