Peninsula Crowned Snake
Scientific name: Tantilla relicta relicta TELFORD 1966
* Currently accepted name
* scientific names used through time
- Tantilla coronata wagneri – CONANT 1958
- Tantilla relicta – TELFORD 1966
- Tantilla relicta relicta – TELFORD 1966
Description Average adult size is 7-8.5 inches (17.7-21.5 cm). Adults are tannish-brown with a black head, chin, and back of neck. There is a light band on the back of the head with a black spot on top separating each side. The snout is pointed. The belly is uniform whitish-yellow. The scales are smooth, and there are 15 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juveniles are similar to adults.
A. Top of the head
B. Underside of the head (chin and throat)
C. Front (face view) of the head
D. Side of the head
E. Smoth scales
Range: In Florida, the Peninsula Crowned Snake occurs from Marion County in the northern peninsula south to Highlands County in the central peninsula. Apparently disjunct populations occur on the Gulf coast, on Cedar Key in Levy county, and in Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties. It is not found outside of Florida.
Habitat: Locally abundant, commonly found in well-drained sandhills, pinelands, and hammocks.
Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Peninsula Crowned Snake is a terrestrial burrower, mainly found under rocks, logs, leaf litter, and other debris. It feeds on insect larvae, snails, and centipedes. It lays eggs. No specific data have been reported, reproduction is believed to be similar to the Southeastern Crowned Snake (Tantilla coronata).
Comparison with other species: The Central Florida Crowned Snake (Tantilla relicta neilli) lacks a distinct light band on the back of the head. The Florida Brown Snake (Storeria victa) is grayish-brown with a light mid-dorsal stripe and flecking on each side. The Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus) is black with a bright yellowish-orange belly with black spots.