Lined Snake (Tropidoclonion lineatum lineatum)
Temple, Texas (May 2002)

While digging a hole in Temple, I was surprised to see a small snake come slithering out of a spade-full of dirt he had just thrown on the pile. Its head was unusually tiny for its body. The slick scales and body markings told him right away it was not poisonous. As it tried to crawl away, I picked it up and examined it.

The small snake immediately defecated in my hand...

Its body coloration consisted of alternating stripes varying in color from black, to beige, to white. The body was about half the diameter of my little finger at its largest girth. It did not attempt to bite while being handled, but when agitated it would flare its body, appearing to be larger than it was.

The lined snake lives in the soil and mostly eats earthworms. When handled, it defecates and flares its body as a mechanism of defense. The final proof, however, is the snake's belly. Lined snakes have a double row of black, half-moon markings that are unique to this species. To me they look more like a pair of dark sunglasses, peering under the brim of a fedora.

Note the arrangement of the scales under the chin.

The vent, containing the anal orifice of the cloaca and the genital organs, is prominent on this specimen. A foul smelling musk is released here when the snake is handled. Note that the tail is short- in this snake less than two inches long.

Ventral scales distal of the vent are divided, but the anal scale itself (the ventral scale that protects the vent) is undivided. The anal scale and the scale next to it are unmarked. 

The lined snake has a light tan spinal stripe originating at the head and extending the length of its body dorsally. The body is a darker tan on each side of the stripe, with dark spots that produce faint "stripes" near the lateral margins, one or two millimeters from the ventral scales. A small black spot also appears where each ventral and dorsal scale meets, excepting the first six junctures distal of the snake's head. This snake has seven upper labial scales.

The eyes are round, and positioned near the snout. Dorsal scales are keeled, as the photo below shows. Each side of the body has nine dorsal scales, counting from the ventral scale margin to the mid-center stripe.

 TERMITE ENCOUNTERS  *  SNAKE ENCOUNTERS SNAKE BITE FIRST AID * SNAKE EXCLUSION * SPIDER ENCOUNTERS * SPIDER BITE FIRST AID * SPIDER EXTERMINATION * PUSS CATERPILLAR ENCOUNTERS * PUSS CATERPILLAR FIRST AID * PUSS CATERPILLAR EXTERMINATIONAssembled & Edited by Jerry Cates. Questions? Corrections? Comments? BUG ME RIGHT NOW! ---- Ph: 512-331-1111 ---- E-Mail ---- Privacy ----BugsInTheNews * --0a0s--