Black & White Banded Snake, July 18, 2008, Houston, TX

Black & White Banded Snake, Houston, TX 091808Thanks to Mike & Travis C., Houston, Texas, for these photos. I always enjoy a challenge, and this is a good one, because not one of our native Texas snakes exhibits the features displayed by this specimen. Frankly, I'm stumped (but see page 4). One obstacle in the way of making a firm identification is the photo. It's the only one Mike & Travis took before releasing the snake into the wild (thanks, guys), and the the image quality is not great. Enlarging it to count scales or to discern details on the head and face yields as many questions as answers, though we will try to home in on a few answers in the next two pages. Notice that the black and white markings appear to be true bands that fully encircle the body. The only snake native to Texas that has such bands is the venomous coral snake (Micrurus fulvius tener), yet this is clearly not that species...  NEXT PAGE

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