Southeastern Crowned Snake


Tantilla coronata
Tantilla coronata

Scientific name: Tantilla coronata (BAIRD & GIRARD 1853)
* Currently accepted name

* scientific names used through time

  • Tantilla coronata BAIRD & GIRARD 1853
  • Tantilla coronata wagneri – BLANCHARD 1938
  • Tantilla coronata mitrifer SCHWARTZ 1953
  • Tantilla coronata coronata CONANT 1958

Description: Average adult size is 5.25-10 inches (13.3-25.4 cm), record is 13 inches (33 cm). Adults are tan to reddish brown with a black head and chin. There is a light band on the back of the head, and a black band 3-5 scales wide extending onto the back of the neck. The belly may be uniform white, yellow, or pinkish. The scales are smooth and there are 15 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juveniles are similar to adults.

Tantilla coronata

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. Smooth scales

Range: In Florida, the Southeastern Crowned Snake occurs in the panhandle. Outside of Florida, it is found from Louisiana to Virginia.

Habitat: Uncommon, found around sandhills, pine flatwoods, hardwood hammocks, and swamps.

Tantilla coronata
Tantilla coronata
Tantilla coronata

Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Southeastern Crowned Snake is a terrestrial burrower, mainly found under rocks, logs, leaf litter, and other debris. It feeds on insect larvae, snails, centipedes, termites, worms and spiders. It lays eggs. Breeding occurs from April-May, usually 1-3 eggs are laid from May-June.

Comparison with other species: The Central Florida Crowned Snake (Tantilla relicta neilli) has only a faint or totally nonexistent light band on the back of its head. The Midland Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi wrightorum) and the Redbelly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata obscura) lack a black band on the back of the neck and have keeled scales.