Name: Sharp-tailed Snake (Contia tenuis)
Order: Snakes (Squamata)
Family: Common Snakes (Colubridae)
What they look like
- Sharp-tailed snakes are small snakes with an average length of 8 to 12 inches. They have smooth shiny scales that are gray or reddish-brown above and bars of black, pale green, gray, or cream underneath. Some individuals also have a yellow or red line along their upper sides. Their tail ends in a long sharp scale, hence their name.
Where they live
- View a map of where they live.
- Sharp-tailed snakes can be found from central California to southern Vancouver Island and British Columbia. They can live in a wide variety of habitats, although they are most commonly found burrowed amidst the wetter soils and debris of woodlands, forests, and grasslands, oftentimes near streams or water.
What they eat
- Slugs are the majority of their diet, although they can also eat slug eggs and slender salamanders.
- In June or July, females search for a nest site 3 to 6 inches deep inside soil, grass roots, or rock outcrops. There they lay 3 to 8 eggs that will hatch in mid-autumn.
Cool Biology Facts
- Some scientists believe that sharp-tailed snakes may use their sharp tails to help stabilize slugs for capture.
- Since they have such large populations, a wide distribution, and can adapt to a wide variety of habitats, sharp-tailed snakes are listed as “least concern."
- View their status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.