Down the western coast of North America starting in southwestern Oregon through California mountains and ending at northern Baja California. Isolated populations exist on the central border of Washington and Oregon.
Prefer moist locations near water sources which can range from coniferous forests to coastal sage scrub to open wooded areas. During inactivity, they stay sheltered under bark, rocks, logs, or underground. Especially attracted to areas with some sun exposure. Diet ranges from lizards to small mammals to birds' eggs.
Covered from head to tail tip in black, white, and red rings that go completely around body; rings on underside lighter than those on dorsum and black and white rings reduced in size. Body covered in smooth scales; head only slightly larger than body. Length can range from 20 to 50 inches (51 - 127 cm). Females lay their eggs in early summer and eggs can hatch late summer to early fall. Breeding does not occur for all adult females every year.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians