Reptiles

Amphibians

Flat-headed Snake (Tantilla gracilis)

Description

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.


Habitats

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.


Habits and Life History

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.


Prey and Hunting Techniques

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.


Temperament and Defense

This species will not bite if handled gently. It has little in the way of defense other than its small size and secretive nature.


Conservation

This species is currently afforded no special protections in the state. It is an unassuming snake that is relatively common in selected habitats.


State Distribution and Abundance

This species is found throughout most of the state, but is absent from the Mississippi Delta. Only a single locality is known from Crowley's Ridge (Craighead County). It is abundant in preferred habitats, primarily rocky cedar glades.

Gallery

Flat-headed Snake Kansas Herpetological Society 2013 Spring Field Trip - Flat-headed Snake Flat-headed Snake Flat-headed Snake Flat-headed Snake Flat-headed Snake Flat-headed Snake Flat-headed Snake Flat-headed Snake Flat-headed Snake Flat-headed Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake Flathead Snake

Contributors

  • kaptainkory May 10, 2006, at 01:39 PM (Original Contributor)

Bibliography

  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979 (1987). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. 3rd ed. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 743 pp.
  • Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed., Expanded. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 616 pp.
  • Irwin, K. J. 2004. Arkansas Snake Guide. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Pocket Guide. 50 pp.
  • Trauth, S. E., H. W. Robison, and M. V. Plummer. 2004. Amphibians and Reptiles of Arkansas. University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville. 421 pp.

Discussion

  • Although rarely seen surface-active, a larger specimen was observed crawling on the surface (and foraging?) midday on a bright, sunny day in late March, 2005. -kaptainkory May 10, 2006, at 01:39 PM

< Variable Groundsnake | Snake | Midwestern Wormsnake >

Edit - History - Recent Changes - Search
Page last modified on January 21, 2012, at 08:54 PM