Fun Glossy Snake Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 20, 2022 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Glossy snake facts are about a shiny, medium-sized colubrid snake

The glossy snake is from the family Colubridae, the Arizona genus, and the species of medium-sized Colubridae snakes. The glossy snakes mostly resemble the gopher snake.

The California glossy snakes are crepuscular and nocturnal reptiles. The desert glossy snakes are muscular constrictors. They have the habit of a sudden attack on their prey in the burrows and control the population of small rodents, reptiles, and mammals. As a result, the Arizona glossy snakes have been almost avoided in the pet trade.

For more relatable content, check out these cat snake facts and common garter snake facts for kids.

Glossy Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a glossy snake?

Glossy snakes are reptiles; they are medium-sized colubrid snakes. They are commonly known as faded snakes. They get their common name through their smooth, glossy scales. They are distinguished from their subspecies with their variety of color patterns and habitats.

What class of animal does a glossy snake belong to?

The glossy snake belongs to the class Reptilia, Arizona genus, and is from the Colubridae family.

How many glossy snakes are there in the world?

There is no detailed information to say the number of glossy snakes. But these varieties of snakes are spread over the southwestern United States.

Where does a glossy snake live?

The glossy snakes are endemic to the southwestern United States and Mexico. The California glossy snakes occur in Nebraska, eastern and southwestern Colorado, southern Utah, central Texas, southern Nevada, San Diego, San Joaquin Valley of California south into Mexico, and below 5,000 ft (1,524 m) in eastern and extreme southwestern Colorado.

What is a glossy snake's habitat?

Glossy snake species is found in sandy or loamy soils with or without rocks. Such habitats include sandy desert, chaparral, arid scrub, grasslands, creosote-mesquite patches, and oak-hickory woodlands at elevations below sea level to about 7,218 ft (2,200 m).

Most are found just above sea level. Mostly they prefer microhabitats of open areas with soil loose enough for easy borrowing.

Who do glossy snakes live with?

The glossy snakes are generally solitary reptiles. They live with their mates only during reproduction.

How long does a glossy snake live?

The glossy snakes' lifespan ranges from 10-15 years.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction of the glossy snake is polyandrous, which means that both the males and females have multiple mates. The glossy snakes are oviparous, and the breeding of adults happens during late spring and early summer after hibernation.

The males have scent trails to find females for mating and crawling over the females, also known as constriction reproduction. Once the females accept males, they raise their tails and allow internal fertilization through the cloaca.

The females lay eggs with little, to no other embryonic development within the mother. The average clutch consists of 10-20 eggs per year and the incubation period continues up to 72 days.

The egg hatches from late August to mid-September, and hatchlings are approximately 9.8 in (25 cm) in total length. Their mother protects the hatchlings for the first few days.

What is their conservation status?

The glossy snakes are listed as Least Concern in conservation status in the ICUN. However, the glossy snakes are highly uncommunicative, and because of this factor, it's complicated to find their current population and distribution.

Glossy Snake Fun Facts

What do glossy snakes look like?

Glossy snakes are similar in appearance to the gopher snake.

Glossy snakes have pointed, narrow heads, small eyes with various skin color patterns, and short tails. The body has an average of 68 spots with tan, gray, pale-olive, and brown colors.

Glossy snakes have slender bodies with smooth glossy scales and a bleached-out, pale color appearance. The snake also has a white or cream-colored unnoticed ventral appearance. The glossy snake has slanting lines that expand from orbit to the corner of the mouth.

These snakes have specialized countersunk lower jaw for stopping sand from entering the mouth. Both the adults and juveniles are similar, but juveniles have darker blotches, which glow over time.

How cute are they?

Though glossy snakes have a washed-out appearance, they have narrow heads with various skin color patterns making them look cute.

How do they communicate?

The glossy snakes have sexual communication, and they use pheromones, fragrances and vibrate their tails during breeding to communicate with mates. At this mating time, males initiate copulation.

Both males and females pull their tongues out to catch the air, bringing chemical odors into the mouth, pressing under their nose where the vomeronasal organ is located and against the roof of their mouth.

How big is a glossy snake?

The glossy snakes are medium-sized muscular snakes and bigger than the queen snake. The maximum total body length of glossy snakes is 70 in (177.8 cm), and most of the subspecies of glossy snakes expand their body below 39.4 in (100cm).

The males are shorter than females have tail lengths of 13-17 % of their bodies, and females have tail lengths of 12-15% of their bodies. The hatchling of glossy snakes has a total body length is 9.8 in (25 cm).

How fast can a glossy snake move?

The glossy snakes have a twisting motion known as lateral undulation. The California glossy snakes are rarely active during the day when its high temperatures and are covered with heavy clouds.

Typically they are idle till pretty dark, and they move or rush with nervous fashion at night. Unfortunately, however, there are no specific data to measure the speed of glossy snakes.

How much does a glossy snake weigh?

There is no data to find about the weight of the glossy snake. However, they are known to be smaller than gopher snakes.

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific names are given for male and female species of glossy snake.

What would you call a baby glossy snake?

There is no specific name given for baby glossy snake.

What do they eat?

Adults of glossy snakes and glossy baby snakes are nocturnal predators of lizards, mammals, small snakes, vertebrates, rodents, birds, and insects. Most prey is constricted; when they capture prey, glossy snake tails vibrate and, creeping over them, tightly hold prey and directly swallow the prey.

In addition, the California glossy snakes hunt active mammals during the night by surprise attack. Though most of the males bite and are harmful, glossy snakes are typically soft.

Are they poisonous?

The California glossy snakes are not poisonous. The venom of glossy snakes does not harm most humans. However, sometimes it may be dangerous as they bite if anyone goads them like other snakes.

Would they make a good pet?

All the subspecies of Arizona elegans glossy snakes are medium-sized non-venomous, soft, submissive, and satiny. These are one of the best pet snakes because they are accessible to manageable, easy to keep in the house, and easy to feed.

Did you know...

These snakes have the same shiny spots and high-gleam scales, hence they are called glossy snakes. However, depending upon their habitats, glossy snakes vary in their patterns.

The glossy crayfish snake is one of the other snakes that have glossy scales, and its name is also similar to a glossy snake and is a highly aquatic reptile.

All the subspecies Arizona elegans have technical characteristics; they build their own burrow with the help of their peculiar nose to hide from predators. In addition, glossy snakes have small eyes that detect the difference between light and dark in their surroundings.

Different types of glossy snake

Glossy snakes have different subspecies, and most of the subspecies are spread across the southwestern United States and Mexico.

The subspecies of Arizona elegans are Texas glossy snakes (Arizona elegans arenicola), commonly seen in North America, Western Mojave glossy snakes (Arizona elegans candida), occurring mostly in Mexico, the southeastern part of the Midwest, and northern Baja California.

The desert glossy snake (Arizona elegans eburnata) occurs from southern Nevada, northwest Arizona, and northeastern Baja California, Kansas glossy snake (Arizona elegans elegans) is distributed in North America, extends west to east from southwest Texas to central Oklahoma and north to south from east-central Colorado well into Mexico.

California glossy snake (Arizona elegans occidentails) occurs from the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay Area south to northwestern Baja California.

Chihuahua glossy snake (Arizona elegans expolita), Arizona glossy snake (Arizona elegans noctivaga), and painted desert glossy snake (Arizona elegans phillipi) are other notable subspecies of the glossy snake.

Predators of glossy snakes

The known predators of desert glossy snakes are owls, snakes, and mammals. In addition, glossy snakes are active at night, known as nocturnal. The desert glossy snake is concealed in the Burren to protect them from predators during the day, and their scales act as camouflage.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our African rock python fun facts and brown tree snake fun facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable glossy snake coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

Read full bio >