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Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus)
Spotted Leaf-Nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus)
Snakes Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Spotted Leaf-Nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus)
Typical habitat (Joshua Tree, CA)

General Description: A small, but heavy-bodied snake that is gray to tan above with small, irregular dark spots scattered on the back and a greatly enlarged scale (the leaf) on the tip of the snout.

Taxonomy: Colubrid Snakes Family (Colubridae). Non-venomous.

Spotted Leaf-Nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus)
Spots on the back

Technical Description: Length 15 to 20 inches. Body heavy. Dorsal color gray to tan with scattered, small dark blotches. Ventral color white; unmarked. A greatly enlarged scale with free edges (the leaf) on the tip of the snout. Pupils vertical (except at night when they are wide open and appear round in flash photos).

Diet: Feeds on geckos, and probably other lizards, that it encounters in rodent burrows.

Spotted Leaf-Nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus)
Large rostral scale

Habitat: Creosote-Bursage Flats and Mojave Desert Scrub habitats in rocky areas and sandy flats; closely associated with Creosote Bush.

Range: The species occurs in southeastern California, southern Nevada (south of the Nevada Test Site), southwestern Arizona, and northwestern Mexico. This subspecies occurs in the northern and western parts of the species range, including the area around Las Vegas.

Breeding: Lays 2-4 eggs during summer.

Spotted Leaf-Nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus)
Not the best photo, but note that the rostral scale stands out from the snout

Similar Species: In southern Nevada, the dorsum of the other "leaf-nosed" snake, the Western Patch-nosed Snake, is striped, not spotted.

Comments: Nocturnal and secretive. The leaf aids in burrowing in sandy soils.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 120910

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