|Florida Snakes: Unique Florida Snakes|
Three species of non-venomous snakes found in Florida are found nowhere
else in the world: the Short-Tailed Snake, Florida Crowned Snake, and
the Rim Rock Crowned Snake. These snakes are very uncommon and difficult
to find. All three of these snakes are protected by the state of
Florida, making it illegal to collect or harm them. Since all three
snakes are found in a very finite environment, it is important that
efforts are made to conserve the snake's special habitats.
Central Florida Crowned Snake- The Central Florida Crowned Snake is a slender snake that is tan or light brown with a black head, chin, and back of neck. A light spot occurs on each side of the lower neck, and the belly is uniform whitish-yellow. Scales are smooth, and the anal plate is divided. This species is most easily distinguished from the similar Southeastern Crowned Snake by geographic range and by lack of a distinct, unbroken light ring on the back of the neck .Crowned Snakes are the smallest native snakes in Florida, with an average length of about 7-9 inches. The record length discovered was 9.5 inches. Crowned snakes are venomous but are no large enough to be harmful to humans. They are called "rear fanged" because their small venom fangs are in the rear of the upper jaw.
Found only in the state of Florida, the central Florida crowned snake is located in central Florida from the Suwannee River to the St. Johns River and south to Hillsborough County. Central Florida Crowned Snakes are found in well-drained sandhills and hammocks and are often associated with longleaf pine or turkey oak scrub habitat, where they prey on beetle larvae but may also eat small centipedes and spiders. Central Florida crowned snakes may be found under rocks, logs, leaf litter, and other debris and are reported to occupy pocket gopher and gopher tortoise burrows. Crowned snakes lay several elongated eggs in the summer. This species provides the principal prey for the rare Short-tailed Snake.
Rim Rock Crowned Snake- Found only in Dade and Monroe counties on a low elevation pine ridge called the Miami Rim Rock formation, and upper Florida keys from Key Largo to Marathon, this small non venomous snake measures an average 6-9 inches. Adult Rim Rock Crowned Snakes are tan with a black head, chin and back of neck. The rim rock crowned snake is a terrestrial burrower, mainly seen only under limestone rocks, logs, leaf litter, and other debris. The type specimen came from a now-vanished vacant lot in Miami, where it was found on the Miami Rim Rock made up of oolitic limestone. Therefore it was given the name, Tantilla oolitica. Since then, less than 10 individuals have found. It is extremely rare!
Short Tailed Snake- The Short-tailed Snake, found only in Florida, is 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. The short-tailed snake's Florida range includes the central and gulf counties from Pinellas north to Columbia and Suwannee. Short-tailed snakes are smooth-scaled, shiny and very slender. They really do have a short tail compared to other snakes. This small snake is usually gray, with dark blotches along its back and sides. The short-tailed snake is thought to be related to the kingsnakes. 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. Short tailed snakes seem to eat nothing except the black-headed crowned snakes. These snakes are protected in Florida and are listed as a threatened species, which makes collecting or harming it illegal!
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