Regal Ringneck Snake

Diadophis punctatus

Regal Ringneck Snake, Diadophis punctatus, photo by John Gunn

Photo contributed by John Gunn. Cave Creek, Maricopa Co., Arizona. Sept. 2008.

Ringneck Snakes vary considerably across their wide range across the southern half of North America. Color, size and prominence of the ring are the traits that vary the most and have resulted in fourteen named subspecies in the United States. Even within Arizona's named subspecies, D. punctatus regalis, there is variation. Thomas Brennan reports that specimens from western Arizona can lack the neck ring altogether. Most adult specimens in the Sonoran Desert are from 50 to 75 cm in length.

Ringnecks remain hidden much of the time within burrows or under debris. They hunt for small animals, especially other snakes. If handled or threatened they expose the bright red-orange under the tail and expel malodorous material from the cloaca.

Colubridae -- Colubrid Snake Family

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Sonoran Desert Field Guide
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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 16 Oct 2008