Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Rick Fridell
Photo Copyright Rick Fridell

The spotted leaf-nosed snake, Phyllorhynchus decurtatus, is a secretive snake that occurs in the Mojave Desert of Nevada, California, Arizona, Mexico, and the extreme southwestern corner of Utah. The spotted leaf-nosed snake was first discovered in Utah in 1995, and thus far only one individual of the species has ever been found in the state. Because the spotted leaf-nosed snake is secretive and nocturnal, there is no population estimate for the species in Utah. Due to its limited distribution, however, it is undoubtably very rare in the state.

The spotted leaf-nosed snake eats small lizards, such as the western banded gecko, and lizard eggs. Not much is know about spotted leaf-nosed snake reproduction, but the species probably lays clutches of two to four eggs once each year, during the summer. The species prefers rocky and sandy soils, and is often found in association with the creosote bush. The "leaf" on the front of the snake's head is really a modified scale that is used for burrowing.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 336 pp.