Eastern Variable Ground Snake

Subgenus Sonora
Sonora episcopa
(Kennicott 1859)
Val Verde Co., Texas. May 23, 1997

My first Sonora was found under a small flat rock that was out in the open under the west Texas sun. One would expect the little snake to cook under the rock at midday. The answer – a hole under the rock, leading to some deep burrow, and excavated by who knows what. Sonora come in many colors from brown to orange, and can be banded, striped, diamond-backed, or none of the above. They prey on spiders, scorpions and other small invertebrates. The ground snake pictured below is from Elk Co., Kansas. Formerly Sonora semiannulata, now placed in the resurrected Sonora episcopa in 2018, with Sonora elevated to a ‘supergenus’ containing Chilomeniscus, Chionactis, and Sonora as subgenera. For more information, see:

Cox et al., ‘Synopsis and taxonomic revision of three genera in the snake tribe Sonorini’
JOURNAL OF NATURAL HISTORY, 2018 VOL. 52, NOS. 13–16, 945–988

My Flickr album for this species is here.

HerpMapper records for this species are here.

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