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Rare Venomous Snake Found at Ventura River

By on May 28, 2012 in News, Press

Spotted night snakes are rare in the Ojai Valley which is located at the very western edge of the spotted night snake’s habitat.  A black patch on the neck and blotches that look like a double row of spots will help identify this snake. These snakes are usually small and the eyes are unmistakable with vertical pupils!  These snakes are most commonly seen at night or under a rock or in mammal burrows, they are largely subterranean.

Spotted night snakes lay their eggs in June and July which hatch roughly two months later.  Night snakes are preyed upon by owls, large nocturnal mammals, and other larger snakes.

The only other snake with vertical pupils in the Ojai Valley is the lyre snake (Trimorphodon biscutatus).  Only one lyre snake sighting has been recorded in Ventura County. This sighting happened in 2008 in the floodplain of the Ventura River near where this spotted night snake was found.

The spotted night snake and lyre snake look similar, but the lyre is much larger.  Both are venomous, but they are rear-fanged and cannot deliver venom to humans, the venom is used to subdue lizards, birds, and rodents.  Lyre snakes are aggressive and have an all-around nasty disposition.  Whereas night snakes, including this one found on the Ventura River Preserve, are docile.

If you see a snake on one of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s preserves please do not try to harm it, they are an important part of the food chain.  Feel free to report the sighting, with a photo if possible, to

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy is a 25 year old member driven organization which has completed many land protection projects in addition to establishing the Ojai Meadows, Ventura River, Ilvento, and Confluence Preserves.  With community support we can teach our children how to keep Ojai as beautiful tomorrow as it is today.

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