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For other uses, see Tantilla (disambiguation).
Tantilla gracilis.jpg
Tantilla gracilis, flathead snake
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Tantilla
Baird & Girard, 1853

Coluber, Homalocranion, Homalacranium, Leptocalamus, Lioninia, Pogonaspis[1]

Tantilla is a large genus of harmless New World colubrid snakes which includes 64 species commonly known as centipede snakes, blackhead snakes, and flathead snakes.


Tantilla are small snakes, rarely exceeding 20 cm (8 inches) in total length. They are generally varying shades of brown, red or black in color. Some species have a brown body with a black head.


Tantilla are nocturnal, secretive snakes. They spend most of their time buried in the moist leaf litter of semi-forested regions or under rocks and debris.


Their diet consists primarily of invertebrates, including scorpions, centipedes, spiders, and various insects.


Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Tantilla.


  1. ^ The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  2. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Tantilla bairdi, p. 14).
  3. ^ Hardy, L.M., and C.J. Cole 1968. Morphological Variation in a Population of the Snake, Tantilla gracilis Baird and Girard. Univ. Kansas Pub., Mus. Nat. Hist. 17 (15): 613-629.

Further reading[edit]

  • Baird, S.F., and C.F. Girard. 1853. Catalogue of North American Reptiles in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Part I.—Serpents. Smithsonian Institution. Washington, District of Columbia. xvi + 172 pp. (Genus Tantilla, p. 104.)
  • Stebbins, R. C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin. Boston and New York. xiii + 533 pp. ISBN 0-395-98272-3 (paperback). (Genus Tantilla, pp. 397–399.)
  • Wright, A.H., and A.A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Comstock. Ithaca and London. 1,105 pp. (in 2 volumes) ("Genus Tantilla", p. 722; "Key to the [species and subspecies of the] genus Tantilla", pp. 723–725.)

External links[edit]