This specie can be found in North America. Its range goes from southwestern Canada through a lot of the western half of the United States. In Canada, it can be found in southern British Columbia while in the US, it can be found in Washington, Oregon, western and southern Idaho and California.
This specie stays in rocky hillsides, talus slopes and outcrops. It also inhabits rocky stream courses, rocky areas in grasslands and mixed woodlands. Lastly, they stay in montane forests, pinyon-juniper and sagebrush. They are nocturnal creatures and not active during cool periods. They feed on birds, lizards, snakes, frogs, insects and small mammals. These include mice, rats, rabbits, hares and ground squirrels. They are oviparous creatures and breed during spring. Their litter is usually about 4 – 12 young. These are given birth to from August to October.
There are many variations as regards the size of this specie, as some may come out stunted and some come out very large. The mainland specimens could reach a total length of about 1,000 mm. As regards patterns, the juveniles have more distinct patterns which then fade as they grow older. The colour of this specimen’s iris usually matches the ground colour which could be gold, bronze, or varying shades of tan, pink or grey. The usual colour pattern of this specie is a dark-brown, dark-grey, olive-brown or it could be black or a pale yellowish ground colour. This background is then overlapped dorsally with a succession of large, dark blotches with uneven white edges.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians