Flat-headed Snake (Tantilla gracilis)
This is Arkansas's smallest species of snake. A second or third look may be required to confirm its identity as a snake and not an earthworm! The dorsal coloration is a shade of plain brown or tan. Ventral coloration is salmon pink. The head coloration is slightly darker than the rest of the body.
The Flat-headed Snake can be distinguished from similar-looking species, such as the Earthsnakes, by viewing the belly coloration. Earthsnakes have a cream-colored belly, whereas the Flat-headed Snake has a salmon pink belly.
This species is also known as a Black-headed Snake or Crowned Snake.
This species is found primarily by flipping over rocks in cedar glades. It may occasionally be found under logs as well. It is rarely visible on the surface.
This secretive borrower presumably follows an activity pattern similar to other colubrids, with most activity occurring in spring. Females lay eggs in late summer or early fall.
The Flat-headed Snake consumes a variety of small insect--and other arthropod--larvae. Reported prey includes scorpions, spiders, centipedes, insects, sow bugs, and snails. It is presumably an active forager that finds its prey in burrows and small cracks.
This species will not bite if handled gently. It has little in the way of defense other than its small size and secretive nature.
This species is currently afforded no special protections in the state. It is an unassuming snake that is relatively common in selected habitats.