Body length: 8 - 30"
Diet: Small invertebrates, snakes, and lizards
Naturalists from eastern and northern states may recognize this slender, elegant snake. Ringneck snakes are one of the most wide-ranging reptiles in the US, occurring in states as far apart as Florida, Maine, California, and Washington. Easily recognized by their yellow or orange ringed neck, these snakes are known to coil their tails in an upturned spiral when provoked or handled, exposing their bright orange or red underside.
Because of its northern affinities, one might expect that ringneck snakes in Arizona would prefer moist areas at high elevations. However, they are surprisingly adaptable, and may be found in grasslands, riparian woodlands, oak woodlands, and even in the desert near riparian areas.
Ringneck snakes are rear-fanged and venomous to the small snakes and lizards on which they feed. Their bite is harmless to humans.
Did You Know?
Tonto National Monument is home to a crested saguaro. Biologists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of lightning or freeze damage. About one in 150,000 saguaros develop this unusual growth.