Rim Rock Crowned Snake


Tantilla oolitica
Tantilla oolitica

Scientific name: Tantilla oolitica (TELFORD 1966)
* Currently accepted name

* scientific names used through time

  • Tantilla coronata wagneri – CONANT 1958

Description: Average adult size is 6-9 inches (15.2-22.8 cm), record is 11.5 inches (29.2 cm). Adults are tan with a black head, chin, and back of neck. Some individuals from the Florida Keys may have a faint, light colored broken band on the back of the head, creating a separation between the black head and neck. The belly is uniform pinkish-white. 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 Rim Rock Crowned Snake occurs only in Miami-Dade (mainland) and Monroe (Florida Keys) counties. On the mainland it occurs on a low elevation pine ridge called the Miami Rim Rock formation. It has also been found from Key Largo to Key West. It does not occur outside of Florida.

Habitat: Rare, found in pinelands and tropical hardwood hammocks.

Tantilla oolitica
Tantilla oolitica
Tantilla oolitica

Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Rim Rock Crowned Snake is a terrestrial burrower, mainly found under limestone rocks, logs, leaf litter, and other debris. The type specimen came from a now-vanished vacant lot in Miami, where it was found on the Miami Rim Rock made up of oolitic limestone, hence the name Tantilla oolitica. Only 26 specimens are known to exist. It is extremely rare, and thus listed as a Threatened Species by the state of Florida mainly because of habitat loss in the Miami area and Florida Keys.

Comparison with other species: 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 grayish-black with bright yellow-orange bellies with black spots.