Floridata Article

Short-tailed Snake(Stilosoma extenuatum)

short-tailed snake
short-tailed snake

The rarest snake species in eastern North America. Few have ever seen this 18" constrictor that apparently occurs only in scrub and sandhills habitats in central Florida. Short-tailed snakes are smooth-scaled, shiny and very slender. They really do have a short tail compared to other snakes. The short-tailed snake is thought to be related to the kingsnakes. Herpetologists (those who study reptiles and amphibians) believe that short-tailed snakes are burrowers that spend most of their time under ground, but most specimens (fewer than 200 are known to science) have been found crawling on the surface, usually in autumn.

This one was found crossing a dirt road in Ocala National Forest. It was released after the picture-taking ceremonies. In captivity, short-tailed snakes eat small lizards and snakes, especially crowned snakes (Tantilla relicta). The State of Florida lists the short-tailed snake as a Threatened species.

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