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 * *
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.