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Patchnose snake

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Patchnose snake
Patchnose snake pic 1.jpg
Scientific Classification
  • Salvadora bairdi
  • Salvadora deserticola
  • Salvadora grahamiae
  • Salvadora hexalepis
  • Salvadora intermedia
  • Salvadora lemniscata
  • Salvadora mexicana
Patchnose snake pic 3.jpg
Salvadora grahamiae grahamia

Patchnosed snakes are a member of Kingdom Animalia and are part of the order Squamata, or snakes for short. The title patchnose comes from the distinct patch apparent on the front of the snake's nose which can be used for digging to catch prey and multiple other things. Besides the patch, the Patchnosed snakes aren't unique or special in anyway from other snakes besides the fact that they are diurnal animals and operate during the day instead of during the night like most other snakes in its order. Food frequently obtained includes lizards, rodents, and even other small snakes on occasion as well.

Body Design

Patchnosed snakes have multiple features apparent on their bodies that make them easily distinguishable from other commonly mistaken snakes. The snake's body is relatively narrow and is not aggressive like some of the other members of its family. The "Patchnosed" name comes from the pattern on the front of the snake's head. On the head is a patch-looking mark that distinguishes the patchnosed snake from other snakes. The body has three stripes running down its body. One yellowish stripe runs down the middle of the snake's back while the other two marks are dark colored and each runs down one of the sides of the snake. Every once in a while there is a crossbar that will interrupt the snake's stripes running down its back. Like most other snakes, the Patchnosed snakes have a light underside or even a pale orange colored belly. Near the rear end of the males are scales that are more rough and rigid instead of the smooth underbelly like that of the rest of the snake.[1] In order to being long and skinny, the circumference of the snake is only about half an inch around despite its two to three foot length. The last thing about Patchnose snakes is that they are non-venomous snakes. Unlike their relatives like the cobra and the rattlesnake, you can be bit by a Patchnosed snake without being injured or poisoned.[2] The Patchnose title comes from the unique patch-shaped nostril at the front of the snake. Unlike most other snakes, the Patchnosed snakes appear to have an enlarged nostril that looks like a large scale on the front of its nose.[3]

Life Cycle

Patchnosed snakes are brought into the world through sexual reproduction which involves a male and female Patchnosed snake breeding together. During the male snake's brumation period in the cold winter it will produce sperm so that it is able to breed successfully when spring comes around and he can find a mate. When spring arrives, the male Patchnose will find a female Patchnose snake and mix his sperm with her eggs. About a month after this, the female will lay about a half-dozen eggs together where they will stay until the time comes for them to hatch. After a couple weeks the eggs will hatch and the new hatchlings will emerge. The baby Patchnosed snakes resemble their parents except are smaller variations of them. The distinct markings of a baby Patchnosed snake are also the same as those of its parents which it will retain until the day it dies. The initial birth size of a baby Patchnosed snake is about seven to ten inches in overall length. This will obviously change as time passes and the snake will eventually grow to four or six times its original size.[2] In the end the Patchnosed snake, like all creatures, will eventually die of old age or will be killed by a predator or some other natural or unnatural cause.


Patchnosed snakes are diurnal animals that are active during the day unlike other nocturnal animals which are active during the night and dormant during the daytime. In the winter when the weather is colder than the other seasons, the Patchnosed snakes will hibernate like most other animals that are ectothermic and can't provide their bodies with heat. As the weather cools in the winter, the snakes must hibernate since its reactions will slow down as the cold seeps its way into the snake's blood. During the hibernation phase, the snake's body will produce eggs or sperm so it can breed in the spring when the weather conditions are more favorable. When a Patchnosed snake is trapped or being threatened it will exhibit mimicry by coiling its body and rattling its tail in order to make predators believe that they are rattlesnakes or another venomous animal. Although this aggressive position is assumed, Patchnosed snakes are harmless to humans. Animals that are consumed for energy by the Patchnosed snakes include: Rodents, lizards, eggs, and smaller snakes on occasion.[2] As far as habitat goes, the Patchnosed snakes live in woodland areas that are above flatlands and in mountain areas at an altitude of about 4,500 to 6,500 feet above sea level. A common destination where Patchnosed snakes live is in Arizona where it is warm, dry and above sea level as well.[4] Since the Patchnosed snake lives in desert areas, it can also be found in the southwest states in North America, the northwestern areas of Mexico, California, and multiple other regions as well. Because of the desert regions it inhabits, the Patchnosed snake actually uses its nose to dig for its food on occasion. The fast movement in Patchnosed snakes may also be used to help capture small animals and prey as well.[1]

Unique qualities of a Patchnosed snake

While the Patchnosed snakes may seem like just more snakes that more people are afraid of, but in reality are completely harmless to humans. Another unique thing about Patchnosed snakes is their movement speed across a landscape.[5] Although long and narrow, these snakes have the ability to move as fast as some humans can on foot. A video shown below gives an example of the Patchnosed snake's speed in sand. The last astonishing quality about these animals is the patch on the front of their nose as previously stated above. This patch allows the snake to dig into the ground to catch prey (also showed below).[2]




  1. 1.0 1.1 Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Western Patchnose Snake Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Web. Accessed 1/28/12.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Price, Michael. [1] GOSANANGELO. Web. 12/12/2009.
  3. Todd. [2] Todd's Desert Hiking Guide. Web. Accessed 1/29/12.
  4. Brennan, Thomas. [3] reptilesofaz. Web. Accessed 1/29/2012.
  5. Trans, Pecos. [4] Web. Accessed 1/30/12..