Lampropeltis leonis (Nuevo Leon Kingsnake) 

Santa Rosa Canyon near Iturbide, Nuevo Leon

Mexican Highway 31, running from San Roberto Junction east to Linares, offers a dramatic contrast to the xeric habitats prevailing over much of Nuevo Leon. The eastern-facing slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental receive abundant rainfall from storms arriving from the Gulf of Mexico. The area near Iturbide (elev. 5100 ft/1554 m), located in Santa Rosa Canyon, has a distinctly tropical look and feel to it, and several species of reptiles occur here that are typical of the more humid Tamaulipan/Gulf Coast Plain region. The tricolor-phase of Lampropeltis leonis has been found here, along with the Texas Coralsnake (Micrurus tener) at somewhat lower elevations. Other snakes observed here include Mexican Lyresnakes (Trimorphodon tau), Bocourt’s Black-headed Snake (Tantilla bocourti), Green Ratsnakes (Senticolis triaspis), Texas Nightsnakes (Hypsiglena torquata jani), and Northern Cat-eyed Snakes (Leptodeira s. septentrionalis).  (July 1996, July 2005).