Florida's Snakes thumbnail photo of snake identification guide cover

Short-tailed Snake
(Lampropeltis [formerlyStilosoma] extenuata)


blotch icon

Short-tailed Snake

photo of short-tailed snake showing black blotches on slender grayish bodoy and faint reddish marks down the spine

 Photo by Kevin Enge (FWC). This photo may not be used without the express written permission of the photographer


Usually 1–1.5 ft. (max. ~2 ft.)


Slender body is silver to gray; back and sides are marked with dark brown-black blotches. Blotches on the back are usually separated by yellow, orange, or reddish pigment along the spine. The top of the head is dark brown-black, and dark bands may run from each eye to the corners of the jaw. It could be mistaken for the venomous Pygmy Rattlesnake but is much thinner and has smooth scales and round eye pupils. This snake is believed to lay eggs.


Found only in north-central peninsular Florida west of the St. Johns River in areas with loose, sandy soils. Its preferred habitat is longleaf pine-turkey oak forests, but it also occurs in scrubs and dry oak hammocks. This snake is uncommon and rarely encountered, and it spends the majority of its time underground.


Frogs, lizards, snakes, young birds and bird eggs, shrews, moles, mice

map showing that short-tailed snakes are found only in north-central peninsular Florida west of the St. Johns River

Map by Monica E. McGarrity - may be used freely for education.

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