Wide-ranging throughout California, Arizona, and partially into the neighboring states of Utah, Nevada, and Oregon. Range also extends south through the Baja Peninsula and northwestern Mexico. It also may be found in southwest Colorado or northwest New Mexico. It is very common in captivity.
This ground-dwelling species can be found in many different habitats, including deserts, chaparral, woodlands, grasslands, marshes, farmland, and suburban areas.
This medium-sized snake with smooth scales is most often a striking black with thin white bands down its entire body. On average, it reaches 2.5-3.5 feet in length, but can rarely exceed 4 feet. It often has a few white spots on its head and neck, and unique white markings on its face. It's head is only slightly wider than its neck, and it narrows towards the snout. The ventrum has wider white bands that are more equal in size to the black bands.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians