Chionactis annulata Resplendent Desert Shovel-nosed Snake
Subspecies I've seen:
C. a. annulata
Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake
Chionactis annulata annulata Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake
Borrego Springs, San Diego County, CaliforniaApril 21, 2009
Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata) Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata) Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata)
These little serpentine jewels were the species I came across most often crossing the roads at night in a week and a half in Borrego Springs. They would move across the road in a leisurely way until they became aware of my presence, at which point they would start thrashing like mad, moving rapidly in an S-shaped pattern. When they got off the road, they would typically start burrowing into the sand immediately, and I had to take fast action to prevent them from escaping before I could get any photos.

Most of the shovel-noses were the three-colored type as pictured in the first two photos above. But occasionally I'd find one that had almost none of the red color, making them look like a different species entirely, as shown in the third photo above.

Borrego Springs, San Diego County, CaliforniaApril 22, 2009
Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata)
Here's one more little beauty from the next evening.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, CaliforniaApril 23, 2009
Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata)
And another from the evening after that. Their bright colors made these snakes really visible against the road or sand, but once they started their high-speed slithering the colors washed together and they seemed to vanish almost instantly.
Borrego Springs, San Diego County, CaliforniaJune 22, 2012
Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata)
It seems that one of the best places to find these beautiful little snakes in the Borrego Springs area is right downtown on the main road.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, CaliforniaMay 13, 2013
Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata) Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata) Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata) Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata) Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis annulata annulata)
Matt Cage and I saw four of these little lowland guys in half an hour or so before we headed up to higher ground to see what else we could discover. We turned around before we even got to our target Chionactis area; probably we could have found a dozen or more if we had tried.
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