Some notes on fossorial snakes in s. AZ.

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ratsnakehaven
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Some notes on fossorial snakes in s. AZ.

Post by ratsnakehaven » January 25th, 2016, 10:41 pm

This is the time of year I start looking for the small fossorials. Last week I found a couple adult blackheaded snakes, Tantilla hobartsmithi, in my front yard. They were in a less than likely place, a pile of white rocks that I was moving to make pathways with in the yard.
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I started wondering why they were in that pile of rocks? Whatever the reason, the fact they were there helped me to understand that this species was fairly common on our property. Then I started wondering what species might be predatory on Tantillas in the desert. That would likely include Sonoran coral snakes, kingsnakes, night snakes, and possibly long-nosed snakes, which occur in our area. Others might eat them, but probably would never come across them.
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So, if black-headed snakes support these other snakes, what other fossorials might we have that would also support larger snakes. Well, I'm sure the Western thread snake lives on our property. That's probably the favorite prey of the coral snake. We might have some sand snakes, but they like sandy soil, and we don't have much of that. They are common along the river though, only a mile or two away. I believe we have saddled leafnose snakes in the neighborhood, as I've seen one just a few blocks from our house.

Anyway, it's fun trying to find fossorials in winter and spring, mostly by flipping stuff. I hope I can make our property very friendly to the fossorial type snakes. Those conditions will probably help attract other snakes and lizards. It's nice to have herps breeding on our property too.

BTW, my new email address, for those that don't have it yet, is [email protected].

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Steve Bledsoe
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Re: Some notes on fossorial snakes in s. AZ.

Post by Steve Bledsoe » January 26th, 2016, 8:46 am

Terry - I've found a number of Hypsiglena in your area under artificial cover. I've also found Tantilla and other species under AC in the Willcox area.
Have you considered setting up some cover boards on your property?

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ratsnakehaven
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Re: Some notes on fossorial snakes in s. AZ.

Post by ratsnakehaven » February 1st, 2016, 9:51 am

Steve, I forgot to mention that night snakes, Hypsiglena, are very common in our yard and area, and they are predatory on the small fossorial snakes. The Santa Ritas also supports populations of the Yaqui and Chihuahuan black-heades snakes. I have seen black-headed snakes in the Willcox area too. They are the Plains blackhead. A very interesting group of snakes.

I use all sorts of cover objects to try to attract the small fossorials. They work at times for diamondbacks and gopher snakes, but rarely for the fossorials. I have seen numerous sand snakes in the river floodplain by flipping cover objects. Also, night snakes use cover objects a lot.

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SurfinHerp
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Re: Some notes on fossorial snakes in s. AZ.

Post by SurfinHerp » February 2nd, 2016, 3:12 pm

Hi Terry,

Do you ever find ground snakes or glossy snakes in your area?

Jeff

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ratsnakehaven
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Re: Some notes on fossorial snakes in s. AZ.

Post by ratsnakehaven » February 12th, 2016, 7:27 pm

Jeff. Sorry it took so long to get back. I don't ever find ground snakes in my area. That would be a real treat. I'm still looking for a good spot for them. I have "rarely" found an AZ glossy snake in my area, within shouting distance of the Santa Cruz River. Our area is very good for sand snakes, closer to the river than my house though.

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