Some other names for this species:
Variable Sand Snake
May 14, 2000
Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
These pretty little snakes are excellent "sand swimmers", spending most of their time just under the desert sand's surface, in a perpetual quest for yummy insect larvae and other tasty underground morsels. This one was encountered at night in a dry water hole in a dry streambed. It sat still long enough for me to get a picture, but slowly vanished under the leaf litter before another camera-bearing herper in our group could get his equipment ready.
The sandsnakes in this area were considered a separate species until recently: Chilomeniscus cinctus (Banded Sand Snake or Banded Sandsnake). But the SSAR North American herp names book groups three formerly-separate species into this one.