Florida Crowned Snake

Scientific Name
Tantilla relicta
Also Known As
Florida Crowned Snake
Range
Central and Northern Florida
Diet
Soft Insects, Centipedes, Earthworms, Ants
Life Expectancy
3 - 5 Years
The Florida Crowned Snake

Photo 254842443 © Tommy Hamrick, CC BY-NC

Florida Crowned Snake conservation status - Not Threatened

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This Snake is Not Venomous

The Florida Crowned Snake in Central Florida

The Florida crowned snake (Tantilla relicta) is a small, nonvenomous colubrid species endemic to peninsular Florida. Often overlooked due to its cryptic habits, the Florida crowned snake plays an important role as a predator of invertebrates and as prey for other wildlife.

This article provides identification tips, biology facts, and information on ideal habitat and diet to better understand this native snake in Central Florida ecosystems.

Subspecies of Florida Crowned Snakes in the Area

Central Florida Crowned Snake

The Central Florida Crowned Snake (relicta neilli) is a unique subspecies in central Florida. Genetic evidence shows they evolved separately. They are tiny, only reaching 8-10 inches long. Their small size is an adaptation to hunting ants and termites in sandy soils. They also have distinct head blotches between the eyes versus other subspecies. Loss of scrub habitat reduces their limited range around Florida’s central Atlantic coast.

Calling them a distinct subspecies highlights the need for habitat protection. Preserving remaining scrub is critical for this tiny snake’s survival. Recognizing their subspecies status brings attention to their decline from habitat loss.

Coastal Dunes Crowned Snake

The Coastal Dunes Crowned Snake (relicta pamlica) is a subspecies living in coastal habitats. Genetic isolation has led to unique traits. They stay under 12 inches long, likely an adaptation for burrowing in loose sand. Their coloration is also lighter than other subspecies to blend into the beach environment. The coastal subspecies is specialized for hunting prey in sparsely vegetated dunes.

Beach development has destroyed much of their shoreline habitat. Recognizing them as a distinct subspecies emphasizes the need for habitat protection. Preserving remaining coastal dunes is essential for this tiny snake’s survival.