Southeastern Crowned Snake Tantilla coronata - Endangered

Adult from South Carolina

Identification

This tiny, fossorial snake is a rarity in Indiana; very few have been seen in the state. Southeastern Crowned Snakes are light tan-brown colored snakes with a black head and neck separated by a single light band. Most adult Southeastern Crowned Snakes are under a foot (30 cm) in length, making this Indiana's smallest snake.

Though Ring-Necked Snakes also have a light ring around the neck and Common Wormsnakes and Smooth Earthsnakes are small and brown, there is no other light brown/tan Indiana snake with a black head in Indiana.

Ecology and Conservation

The Southeastern Crowned Snake typically inhabits dry, rocky slopes. Its small size and secretive nature have allowed it to remain in close proximity to urban areas. This snake eats primarily insects and spiders. These small burrowing snakes are incredibly secretive, but are sometimes found under rocks or logs.

The Southeastern Crowned Snake is protected as an endangered species in Indiana because of its extremely limited range and loss of habitat as a result of human development.

Shalestone glade in Floyd County
Shalestone glade in Floyd County

Distribution

Southeastern Crowned Snakes are known only from a few rocky glades along the knobstone escarpment in Floyd and adjacent Clark Counties. Though many of these glades have become overgrown, shaded, or otherwise altered; it is likely that this tiny snake still persists in the region.

Taxonomy

No subspecies of the Southeastern Crowned Snake (Tantilla coronata) are currently recognized. These snakes are members of the family Colubridae, which is represented by a total of 28 species in Indiana.

Literature Cited

Conant, R. and J. T . Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Third Edition, Expanded. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY.

Minton, S. A. Jr. 2001. Amphibians and Reptiles of Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis, IN.

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Southeastern Crowned Snake (Tantilla coronata)
Photographs