Arizona elegans Glossy Snake
Subspecies I've seen:
A. e. candida
Mohave Glossy Snake
A. e. eburnata
Desert Glossy Snake
A. e. noctivaga
Arizona Glossy Snake
A. e. philipi
Painted Desert Glossy Snake
Arizona elegans candida Mohave Glossy Snake
near California City, Kern County, CaliforniaJune 17, 2012
Mohave Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans candida)
Very hot, dry, and windy conditions made for a poor evening of snake hunting. All I saw was this handsome adult glossy snake and one smaller individual.
Arizona elegans eburnata Desert Glossy Snake
near Mara Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park, San Bernardino County, CaliforniaMay 18, 2001
Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)
We found this snake crawling across a road at about 9:00 PM. Glossy snakes look like smaller, less strongly-patterned gopher snakes. They're nocturnal in the deserts, and tend to burrow rather than hiding under rocks and things, so you're very unlikely to see one by day, at least so says Stebbins. I had certainly never seen one by day, anyway.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, CaliforniaJuly 2, 2006
Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata) Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)
In addition to looking like smaller, less strongly-patterned gopher snakes, young glossy snakes also look like only slightly differently patterned nightsnakes. At least these two did, at least to me. Shortly before I saw the first of these two snakes on the road at night, I had seen a nightsnake, and these two were very similar in same size, shape, color, and pattern to that little guy. Only when I was looking at the photos after returning home did I get suspicious, and I got some help from the friendly folks at fieldherpforum.com to clarify the identities of all three.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, CaliforniaJuly 3, 2006
Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)
This large glossy snake was the first live snake I found on a second night of road-cruising in Anza-Borrego. After I pulled over and took a few photos on the road's shoulder, another car pulled up and a voice within asked what kind of snake I had found. I think this was the first time I've ever encountered fellow herpers out in the field. I guess I need to get out more.

The fellow herpers turned out to be San Diego locals Jeff Lemm and Steve Steward, who were much more familiar with the area than I was. After chatting for while, I ended up following them around for an hour or so, during which time they found two red diamond rattlesnakes and one southern pacific rattlesnake on the road.

Borrego Springs, San Diego County, CaliforniaApril 21, 2009
Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)
Around Borrego Springs there were many Western Banded Geckos on the roads at night, and just enough cars to flatten a subset of those geckos. It seems that they taste just as good when flattened.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, CaliforniaApril 23, 2009
Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata) Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)
Here's another large glossy snake from a couple of nights later. This one wasn't munching on any two-dimensional lizards, but was certainly healthy and well-fed anyway.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, CaliforniaApril 26, 2009
Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)
Yet another Arizona elegans eburnata from the same trip, a few nights later. This one was remarkable primarily because it was crawling across the road pretty late at night when the temperature had dropped to 60°, which is quite cool for these desert snakes.
near Mara Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park, San Bernardino County, CaliforniaJune 23, 2012
Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)
This little tyke was the last snake I photographed before the friendly ranger informed me, in no uncertain terms, that it is a federal offense to be using a flashlight or even car headlights to find wildlife in a national park.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, CaliforniaMay 13, 2013
Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)
This boldly-patterned youngster was far more willing to pose for Matt Cage and me than the Red Diamond Rattlesnake or the Gophersnake we had seen earlier that evening.
Imperial County, CaliforniaMay 20, 2015
Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)
My first Imperial County glossy snake! (Is this actually something to be proud of? No. No it is not.)
Arizona elegans noctivaga Arizona Glossy Snake
Pima County, ArizonaMay 6, 2009
Arizona Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans noctivaga)
About half an hour after spotting a gopher snake on the road, I had turned around and was returning across the same stretch of pavement when I spotted a snake of about the same size and shape in about the same location. I first thought it was the same gopher snake out on the road again, but a closer look showed that it was this fairly similar-looking species.
near Benson, Cochise County, ArizonaMay 9, 2009
Arizona Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans noctivaga)
On a very productive road that had earlier in the day offered up to me and my friend Roger Repp a patch-nosed snake, a gopher snake, a kingsnake, a couple of rattlesnakes and two (Count 'em! Two!) Gila Monsters, this mid-sized Arizona Glossy Snake was the final herp of the day.
Arizona elegans philipi Painted Desert Glossy Snake
Cochise County, ArizonaAugust 16, 2013
Painted Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans philipi)
A cooperative adult, willing to sit still for a few photos.
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