There are 8 subspecies ranging through most of coastal California and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, down through the Baja Peninsula.
Found in different types of arid habitats including chaparral, deserts, mountain meadows, grasslands, and suburban areas. Likes to hide under natural and manmade debris, emerging at night or dusk and dawn.
A small snake that can reach 12-20 inches in length. It has a light brown or grey background color with rows of darker spotting down the length of its body. The central 2 rows of large spots are usually overlapping and misaligned. The darkest patches are found on the sides of its neck, sometimes forming a complete collar, as well as a dark bar behind each eye. It has a flat head and vertical pupils. Ventrum is light and unmarked.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians