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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Check Out These Ssseriously Cool Short-Tailed Snake Facts

Short-tailed snake facts are interesting.

A short-tailed snake (Lampropeltis extenuata) is a species of small and sleek new world snakes endemic to Florida. The snakes resemble mole kingsnakes that are also found in Florida and are closely related to the species of kingsnakes. Therefore sometimes they are also referred to as short-tailed kingsnakes. This species of short-tailed snakes is named after its very small tail that only comprises 10% of the snake's total length.

The short-tailed snake is known by the scientific name Lampropeltis extenuata. However, A. Erwin Brown suggested another generic name called Stilosoma extenuatum under the genus Stilosoma, based on the small and stiff body structure of the snake. This name was derived from two greek terms 'stylos', meaning 'pillar' and 'soma', meaning 'body'. They are fossorial in nature and are rarely seen by humans which makes it difficult to spot them in their habitats. However, because of the large-scale destruction of their residential habitats, it is assumed that this snake is listed as Threatened in Florida and protected by the state.

If you are interested to know more about these snakes, continue reading these facts. For similar content, check out northern pine snake and cape file snake facts too.

Short-Tailed Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a short-tailed snake?

The short-tailed snake (Lampropeltis extenuata) is one of the species of new world snakes endemic to Florida.

What class of animal does a short-tailed snake belong to?

The short-tailed snake is of the Squamata order and a member of the Colubridae family. It belongs to the class Reptilia, the common class for all reptiles.

How many short-tailed snakes are there in the world?

The exact number of short-tailed snakes in the wild and in captivity throughout their range in the United States and Canada is unknown. However, a survey of reptiles and amphibians of central and eastern United States and Canada have proved that they are found in more than 30 localities in the United States. Most of their habitats are highly under-examined because of their fossorial nature, so there remains a high chance for them to occur in additional localities. It is assumed that several thousand individuals are found in these localities. However, threatened by the effects of loss of habitats, it is believed that this species has certainly lost large areas of occupancy. This has resulted in a decreasing population but the rate of decrease is not known.

Where does a short-tailed snake live?

The short-tailed snake is a native snake of Florida, North America. The species is restricted to the southeastern parts of the United States in northern and central Florida. Their range extends from Columbia counties to the banks of the Suwannee River in the west. Apart from that, they are also found in some other handful counties like Orange, Highlands, and Hillsborough counties. The snake is generally not found beyond these areas in the wild.

What is a short-tailed snake's habitat?

A short-tailed snake essentially prefers a sandy, soiled habitat. They are mainly found in dry uplands that consist of pine-turkey oak woodlands, xeric oak hammocks, and dry pine scrubs. The pine scrubs and sandy soils are usually inhabited by the juveniles while they move to more dense shrubs and canopy layers as they grow up. The adults are also sometimes found living in suburban neighborhoods. This species spends most of its time in underground burrows and rarely comes on land.

Who do short-tailed snakes live with?

The short-tailed snake is a burrowing snake but whether they live alone or in groups in these burrows is not known.

How long does a short-tailed snake live?

The average lifespan of a short-tailed snake has not been determined because of scarce data.

How do they reproduce?

There is little to no information regarding the reproductive habits of the snake as their fossorial nature has made them extremely uncommon and secretive. It is assumed that they are oviparous and the females lay eggs in the burrows. Although no nesting site or eggs of this species have been recorded. A single study on its reproductive behavior concluded that the breeding season of short-tailed kingsnakes ranges from March to April and they lay eggs probably between summer and fall.

What is their conservation status?

This species of short-tailed snake (Stilosoma extenuatum) is listed as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List. Currently, the snake is extremely vulnerable to losing the extent of its habitat. The development of residential and agricultural lands has affected them negatively by reducing their area of occurrences. However, these snakes of the United States have been recognized and protected by several conservation sites throughout eastern and central North America to preserve their population status.

Short-Tailed Snake Fun Facts

What do short-tailed snakes look like?

The physical description of short-tailed kingsnakes matches a mole kingsnake's physical description. The short-tailed snake has a small head at the anterior end and a short tail at the posterior part which comprises only 10-12% of its total length. The rest of the body is slender and cylindrical in shape. The upper body is gray in color with 50-80 dark brown or black blotches and the underside is white with dark blotches. In some snakes, there is a stripe running along the spine in the center-back. This yellow or orange stripe running on the back looks vibrant in between the dark brown blotches of the short-tailed snake (Stilosoma extenuatum). Brown coloration of the adults persists even in the juveniles.

The short-tailed snake is fossorial in nature.

How cute are they?

Their appearance does not attract the human eye as such and is taken in captivity only for research purposes rather than its cuteness.

How do they communicate?

Generally, a snake is known to communicate by releasing pheromones however, there is no information regarding this snake's communication method.

How big is a short-tailed snake?

The length of the short-tailed kingsnake ranges between 14-20 in (36-51 cm). They are longer than mole kingsnakes whose length ranges between 30-40 in (76.2-101.6 cm).

How fast can a short-tailed snake move?

The moving habits of this snake are not examined and as a result, their speed is unknown.

How much does a short-tailed snake weigh?

The average weight of this species has not been determined.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males and the females of this species do not have any specific names. Both of them are called short-tailed snakes.

What would you call a baby short-tailed snake?

A baby is called a snakelet of the neonate.

What do they eat?

Unlike yellow rat snakes, their diet is not properly studied and most of the information about its diet is concluded from the preference of a captive short-tailed snake. Florida crowned snakes form their main food source.

Are they poisonous?

It is assumed that they do not contain poison, just like Scarlet snakes.

Would they make a good pet?

They do not make great choices as pets and also it is illegal to pet them in many parts because of their protected status.

Did you know...

Some scientists consider that their diet consists only of Florida crowned snakes and nothing else since most captives rejected any other type of food like reptiles and other similar species.

Do short-tailed snakes bite?

They are generally a small and harmless species and there have been reports regarding their bites.

Are short-tailed snakes slimy?

Like all California kingsnakes, the short-tailed snake's skin also looks slimy and slippery with more slimy scales around the belly.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Burmese python facts and mud snake facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable short-tailed snake coloring pages.

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