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Longnosed Snake

Rhinocheilus lecontei


Very common in the Cave Creek area


Snake fence exclusion works very well with this species

The Longnosed Snake is one of the most commonly encountered snakes at homes in Cave Creek. Often mistaken for a kingsnake, they are likewise completely harmless.

Longnosed Snakes in the Cave Creek area are usually patterned with speckled black and white bands, with varying amounts of red or orange coloration. As hatchlings, they may completely lack any red coloration whatsoever, making them look very similar to Kingsnakes. They range in size between about 7″ as a hatchling, to the 3′ range as adults.

In addition to being often mistaken for a Kingsnake, this snake is frequently misidentified as a Sonoran Coralsnake. This causes the undeserved death of many Longnosed Snakes found in Cave Creek yards, by those using the old “red touches yellow” rhyme that does not work in Arizona. While there is no easy and absolute method to tell the difference between a Longnosed Snake and a Coralsnake, other than general appearance, the speckled, “dirty” appearance of many Longnosed Snakes exclude them from close similarity with Coralsnakes, who have a much more clean and clear banded pattern. The nose of most Longnosed Snakes is also white, which is never the case with Coralsnakes.

Longnosed Snakes are completely harmless, and almost never bite, even if provoked to an extreme level. Their primary defense is to defecate and musk when picked up, as well as occasionally bleed from the cloaca. This is meant as a deterrant to predators, who may not want a mouthful of nasty goop.

During the monsoon season each year, Longnosed Snakes hatch from eggs and wander in search of food. During these first weeks of life, they often find their way into homes. If a snake is reported from Cave Creek and is inside of a home during this August, it has a good chance to be a Longnosed Snake.

Unlike many native snakes, Longnosed snakes have adapted well to semi-developed areas, and can be found nearly anywhere in Cave Creek.

Sightings and Photographs by Residents of Cave Creek