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What is a Southwestern Blackhead Snake

What is a Southwestern Blackhead Snake

What is a Southwestern Blackhead Snake

Close up profile of tiny southwestern blackhead snake curled around hand and fingers.

Southwestern Blackhead Snake Overview

The southwestern Blackhead Snake is a small, pencil thin snake the lives in the American southwest as well as parts of northern Mexico. While this snake is tiny in stature, it’s a fierce predator to keep around if you see one outside near your house.

Just to preface something, just because they can be nice to have around your house doesn’t mean you want them in your house as they can eventually turn into pests themselves. It’s best to keep them outside with 4 walls separating you and them.

These snakes love to eat spiders, scorpions, centipedes and other insects with specialized venom that is toxic to invertebrates but not humans.

Even though the Southwestern Blackhead Snakes venom is harmless to humans, it doesn’t mean that their bite cant hurt or their venom not irritate on rare occasions so if you’re bitten, it’s best to monitor and clean the bite site until its healed, just in case. 

Southwestern Blackhead Snakes love to stay low to the ground under loose soil, debris, rocks, and anything else it can fit under. Doing this serves two purposes. Firstly, it keeps the snake out of the line of site for a lot of predators looking for an easy meal. The second reason is because when you think about it, where do you see bugs the most? Under everything I just listed which is why, at least to me, it makes sense that these snakes would be there too. 

Related Article >> Snakes in Nevada


The scientific name for the Southwestern Blackhead Snake is Tantilla hobartsmithi and was named so after zoologist and herpetologist, Hobart M. Smith.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Serpentes
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Tantilla
  • Species: hobartsmithi

Related Article >> Reptiles

Size and Body Description

Southwestern Blackhead Snakes are more often than not a uniform color throughout all of its body except for its head, which is, well, black.

Their body color is brown or beige in color with a belly is white and has a reddish stripe that may not always extend the length of its body.


As stated before, these snakes are thin and small only growing to be about 4.5 to 15 inches in length.


Due to their small size, the Southwestern Blackhead snake feeds primarily on soft bodied insects, millipedes, and centipedes.


There is not a lot of information about the mating season or reproduction of these snakes other than they lay eggs

Where Found

Southwestern Blackhead Snakes live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. You can also find them in the Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Sonora regions of Mexico.


As or writing this, the Southwestern Blackhead Snake does not have any federal laws protecting it as its population is considered stable by the IUCN

“Tantilla hobartsmithi has most recently been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2007. Tantilla hobartsmithi is listed as Least Concern.” 

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What is a Southwestern Blackhead Snake