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A Checklist of the Snakes of Hidalgo County, Texas


Gerald Keown

This checklist of the snakes of Hidalgo County, Texas was originally published in 1984 and was a result of extensive field work done by the author in Hidalgo County from 1977 through 1983. The taxonomic status of all species listed have been updated to reflect the common and scientific names currently in use.

Hidalgo County, located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, encompasses 1,543 square miles of rich sandy loam soil and semitropical vegetation along the Rio Grande River which seperates the county from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The county is between 40 and 275 feet above sea level and has an average annual rainfall of approximately 20 inches. The south part of the county is heavily populated and the majority of land is in cultivation, while the north part of the county is sparsely populated and much less developed.

The following checklist contains 31 species that are known to occur and unless otherwise noted have been collected or observed in the county by the author. There are an additional 6 species that are known to occur in adjacent counties or in the northern portion of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas that could be expected to possibly occur in Hidalgo County. Four species found in the county are currently protected by state law.

South Texas Blind Snake, Leptotyphlops dulcis rubellum

Diamondback Water Snake, Nerodia rhombifer rhombifer

Checkered Garter Snake, Thamnophis marcianus marcianus

Gulf Coast Ribbon Snake, Thamnophis proximus orarius

Texas Brown Snake, Storeria dekayi texana

Mexican Hooknose Snake, Ficimia streckeri

Mexican Hognose Snake, Heterodon kennerlyi

Rough Green Snake, Opheodrys aestivus

Western Coachwhip, Masticophis flagellum testaceus

Schott's Whipsnake, Masticophis schotti schotti

Ruthven's Whipsnake, Masticophis schotti ruthveni  *

Mexican Racer, Coluber constrictor oaxaca

Northern Speckled Racer, Drymobius margaritiferus margaritiferus  *  (Protected)

Texas Indigo Snake, Drymarchon melanurus erebennus  (Protected)

Texas Patchnose Snake, Salvadora grahamiae lineata

Texas Glossy Snake, Arizona elegans arenicola

Bull Snake, Pituophis catenifer sayi

Western Rat Snake, Pantherophis obsoletus  *

Southwestern Rat Snake, Pantherophis emoryi meahllmorum

Mexican Milk Snake, Lampropeltis triangulum annulata

Prairie Kingsnake, Lampropletis calligaster calligaster  *

Desert Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula splendida

South Texas Ground Snake, Sonora semiannulata taylori

Texas Longnose Snake, Rhinocheilus lecontei tessellatus

Black-striped Snake, Coniophanes imperialis imperialis  *  (Protected)

Flathead Snake, Tantilla gracilis

Plains Blackhead Snake, Tantilla nigriceps

Texas Night Snake, Hypsiglena torquata jani

Northern Cat-eyed Snake, Leptodeira septentrionalis septentrionalis  (Protected)

Texas Coral Snake, Micrurus tener tener * *

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox * *


 *   = Based upon a literature record only, some of which may be questionable and unverified.

 * * = Venomous species.


Brown, Bryce C. 1950. An Annotated Check List of the Reptiles and Amphibians of Texas. Baylor University Press, Waco.

Conant, R. 1958. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of the United States and Canada East of the 100th Meridian, 1st edition. Houghton Mifflin, Co., Boston.

Dixon, James R. 2000. Amphibians and Reptiles of Texas, 2nd edition. Texas A & M Press, College Station.

Werler, John E., and James R. Dixon. 2000. Texas Snakes, Identification, Distribution and Natural History. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Date submitted 02/28/07

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