This little guy is a sidewinder, one of the most iconic snakes in the American Southwest. They’re a type of rattlesnake, which surprises some people. This is an adult, at about one and a half feet long.
This is a good example of defensive behavior that could be interpreted as aggression. The snake is out in the open and has no choice but to defend itself against me, the “predator”. If there were bushes or holes nearby, the snake would almost certainly try to get to them and hide. All I need to do is walk away, and I’m perfectly safe.
Sidewinders aren’t the most common snake in Phoenix, since they require sandy soil. They also tend to wander, so are quickly killed off in areas where roads create hazards. We do get calls to remove them in areas around West Phoenix, like Buckeye and Tonopah, and sometimes in the Southern part of Apache Junction