Western Shovelnose Snake (Chionactis occipitalis)
Western Shovelnose Snake
This nocturnal and burrowing species ranges throughout the arid areas of South Eastern California, Southern Nevada and South Western Arizona. They also exist in Baja and North West Sonoran Areas of Mexico.
There are currently four sub-species of this bizarre species recognised and they are Colorado Desert Shovelnose Snake (Chionactis occipitalis annulata), Tuscan Shovelnose Snake (Chionactis occipitalis klauberi), Mojave Shovelnose Snake (Chionactis occipitalis occipitalis) and the Nevada Shovelnose Snake (Chionactis occipitalis talpina).
This species curls into a ball or burrows away to escape danger in the wild. It has been observed active during daylight but only within shaded areas (observation by Gary Nafis).
As adults there average size is usually between 25 and 43 cm in length.
This species is an insectivore suitable foods to offer include crickets, locusts (spines pulled off), waxworms, earthworms, spiders, craneflies, etc. These should be dusted with calcium supplements and gut loaded prior to feeding. Always ensure any wild caught insects are taken from areas not sprayed with pesticides. Also ensure that the specimen you are purchasing is feeding prior to collection.
A small and shallow ceramic/earthenware dog bowl is best for these snakes as they are harder for them to tip over. This water should be changed daily as this is also the water they drink. Humidity levels should be kept low as high levels of humidity may cause respiratory conditions in this species.
A background temperature of 24 degrees Celsius is required. A basking area covering one third of the vivarium should be allowed to reach temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius.
Most captive specimens appear to live between 6 and 10 years in captivity.
Layers of calcium sand or children’s (silica free) play sand are suitable for this species. They must be at least 3 inches deep to allow digging behaviour otherwise this species will cease to feed.
NB Photograph taken from http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?special=browse&where-lifeform=Reptile&where-taxonfiltered=Chionactis+occipitalis
Map of Californian distribution taken from http://www.californiaherps.com/snakes/maps/coccipitalismap.jpg by Gary Nafis.
Recommended Reading/Useful Contacts
Stuart Dodsworth – firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Herpetological Society – www.international-herp-society.co.uk
The British Herpetological Society – www.thebhs.org
Taxonomy Information – http://srs.embl-heidelberg.de:8000/srs5bin/cgi-bin/wgetz?-e+[REPTILIA-Species:'Chionactis_SP_occipitalis']
Last edited by NicoleRussell; 10-08-2006 at 11:57 PM.
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