Upper Santa Ana River


Arizona elegans occidentalis

Natural History

California glossy snakes range from California’s central San Joaquin Valley south to the border with Mexico, and east to the Mojave and Sonoran Desert region. They are known from the area around the San Bernardino Airport east toward Seven Oaks reservoir and north to the Cajon Wash and Lytle Creek. The are scarce due to habitat loss and degradation.

California glossy snake prefers open areas in a variety of habitat including light shrubby to barren desert, grassland, chaparral, and coastal sage scrub. They feed on lizards and small mammals and are sometimes known to prey on small birds and other snakes. They lay eggs in July which hatch in September. California glossy snake are active primarily at night and remain underground during the day.

Life Stage/Activity PeriodJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Egg Laying
Neonate Emergence
Threats and Management Actions

Habitat loss and degradation, reptile collectors, and roadkill are the primary threats California glossy snakes. Little is known about the ecology of the species, which makes management challenging. Habitat protection and management, and public education about the harm of collecting are the primary management actions for the species.

How you can help: Please don’t collect the glossy snake and report any poaching to your local authority!

This website is being developed by ICF in coordination with the Upper Santa Ana River Sustainable Resource Alliance and Stillwater Sciences.