Body length: 20 - 41"
Diet: Small snakes, lizards, and rodents
Banded in black, yellow, and/or red, longnose snakes are often confused with kingsnakes, but have less distinct bands and a longer (or at least more narrow) nose. These snakes are relatively common at lower elevations in the Tonto Basin. Excellent burrowers, they are almost never seen above ground during the day. When threatened, these snakes seldom bite, but may defend themselves by coiling, striking, vibrating their tail, defecating, and even bleeding from the rear vent.
The color of snakes is not always useful in distinguishing one species from the next. Some longnose snakes, for example, have prominent red blotches, and others have no red color at all. It was once thought that these black "clarus" snakes were a distinct subspecies - until 1963, when both types were found in the same clutch of eggs.
Did You Know?
Tonto National Monument averages 15" of rain annually. Snow is a rare occurrence, but as long as temperatures remain above freezing, the saguaros don't seem to mind!