Diadophis punctatus vandenburghi (alt. vandenburgii and vandenburghii)
Like with quick birds, I often only photograph snakes after they've died. This one was difficult to miss, because we found it belly-up with bright orange in the middle of the dirt road. It was roughly 16 inches long. Ants had already started meticulously carrying little bits away. I wish I had more patience to have taken better photographs, I mean it was dead after all and wasn't going anywhere. The color differences between the two photographs above of the dirt and the orange was exactly what my camera picked up; I did not do any color correction in the computer. I had a challenging time finding information on ring-necked snakes that wasn't overly generalized, especially with the alternate ssp. spellings. This snake definitely does not have any black speckling typical of the Monterey ssp. It looks more like the coral-bellied ring-neck snake (Diadophis punctatus pulchellus) found inland in the Sierra Nevadas, but according to some taxonomic notes these subspecies could be lumped together as a coastal CA lineage.