Coastal Dunes Crowned Snake


Tantilla relicta pamlica

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

* scientific names used through time

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

Description: Average adult size is 7-8.5 inches (17.7-21.5 cm). Adults are tannish to reddish-brown with a black head, chin, and back of neck. There is a light band on the back of the head. The snout is pointed and labial scales are lighter colored than the head. The belly is uniform white to yellowish-pink. 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 Coastal Dunes Crowned Snake occurs along the Atlantic coast from Brevard County south to Palm Beach County. It is not found outside of Florida.

Habitat: Rare, sometimes found in well-drained grassy dunes, pinelands, and hardwood hammocks.

Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Coastal Dunes 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 Rim Rock Crowned Snake (Tantilla oolitica) lacks a lighter colored snout and scales on the upper lip. 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.