Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the March 18, 2006 Newsletter written at Hacienda San Juan Lizárraga one kilometer east of Telchac Pueblo, Yucatán, MÉXICO and issued from Hotel Reef Yucatan 13 kms to the north
A SCHMIDT'S STRIPED SNAKE
Roberto the gardener, while cleaning up a weed-overgrown junk pile, ran into yet another snake species I hadn't yet seen. This one was like a brownish garter snake, with narrow lines running the body's length. It was a Schmidt's Striped Snake, CONIOPHANES SCHMIDTI, and that's it in the picture above.
Schmidt's Striped Snakes are distributed from here, the northern Yucatan, south into Guatemala and Belize, so their distribution area is much smaller than the former species'. The species feeds on lizards and frogs.
I'm even more pleased to post this snake's picture because a debate among specialists is going on as to whether this is a distinct species or just a subspecies of the more generally distributed Cope's Striped Snake, Coniophanes piceivitis. Maybe this picture and geographic note will help clarify matters.
What a pleasure to feel like I might be contributing to the understanding of these species. This is the traveling naturalist's dream.
from the July 27, 2018 Newsletter issued from Rancho Regenesis in the woods ±4kms west of Ek Balam Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO
SCHMIDT'S STRIPED SNAKE CLOSER UP
Back when the above pictures were taken I didn't have a camera with close-up capabilities, so last weekend along the road to the frutería in Temozón I had mixed feelings about seeing the species as roadkill, though in not too bad a condition. Below, you can see him looking somewhat alive:
Several species found in our general area are assigned to the genus Conophis, to which this species belongs. Since the species are somewhat similar and their taxonomy isn't well worked out, I wanted a good shot of this snake's facial scales, for scale number, shape and configuration are much used in snake identification. A side view of this snake's head is shown below:
The head, nicely showing the reddish brown atop the head, which is a good field mark, appears below:
Schmidt's Striped Snakes are described as terrestrial, nocturnal snakes with fangs at the back of their mouths instead of up front. They inhabit moist and dry forests, and I read that they're not encountered in urban or agricultural areas, and are associated with water bodies, though this one was not far from a cornfield, and I don't think there was a standing body of water within a kilometer of there. Some of the fields are sometimes irrigated with sprinkled water, though, so maybe that's wet enough.