Central Florida Crowned Snake


Tantilla relicta neilli
Tantilla relicta neilli

Scientific name: Tantilla relicta neilli (TELFORD 1966)
* Currently accepted name

* scientific names used through time

  • Tantilla coronata wagneri – CONANT 1958
  • Tantilla relicta – TELFORD 1966
  • Tantilla relicta neilli – TELFORD 1966

Description Average adult size is 7-9 inches (17.7-22.8 cm), record is 9.5 inches (24.1 cm). Adults are tannish with a black head, chin, and back of neck. There is a light spot on the sides of the lower neck. 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.

tantilla illustration

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 Central Florida Crowned Snake occurs in the northern and central peninsula from Suwannee River to St. Johns River and south to Hillsborough County. Outside of Florida, it occurs north into southern Georgia.

Habitat: Locally abundant, commonly found in well-drained sandhills and hammocks.

Tantilla relicta neilli
Tantilla relicta neilli
Tantilla relicta neilli
Tantilla relicta neilli
Tantilla relicta neilli
Tantilla relicta neilli

Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Central Florida Crowned Snake is a terrestrial burrower, mainly found under rocks, logs, leaf litter, and other debris. It has also been reported to occupy pocket gopher and gopher tortoise burrows. 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 Peninsula Crowned Snake (Tantilla relicta relicta) has a 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 yellow-orange belly with black spots.