Monday, July 11, 2011

Western Black-Headed Snake

We had a wonderful little surprise on our back patio tonight. Judy called me outside and let me know that there was a snake. I was not immediately sure what kind of snake it was. I was thinking it might be a San Bernardino Ringneck Snake, which I have only seen once before (caught by our neighbors). It was similar, but a snake I have never seen before: a western black-headed snake, 
also called a California black-headed snake. 
They are found along the coast of Southern California to the desert side of the mountains, as far south as Whitewater Canyon and as far north as San Francisco Bay. They are very small, up to about 16 inches long, and ours was about 14 inches. It was thinner around than a pencil. The top of the head is brown or black
and there is a faint light collar between the head and the body color which is brownish or beige. 
The collar sometimes has a border of dark spots. It has a white belly with a reddish stripe down the middle. 
Not much is known about them. They are rarely seen and very secretive. They are usually underground or underneath objects such as rocks. They are sometimes found on warm nights. Our temperature was in the 90s today in Redlands and in the high 70s or low 80s when we found the snake. 
They eat insects, including centipedes, millipedes and beetle larva. After a few pictures I put the snake back out on the patio with the hope that it would continue to eat beetles and centipedes galore. 


  1. Just found one on my concrete patio in San Clemente--this is a cool looking snake..... It is now working in my garden!!

  2. I have seen 2 of these in my area, 65 miles north of San Francisco. One in my driveway, another on the side walk. Both were about 6 to 8 inches long. Very slow moving snake.

  3. I just found a snake that looks very very similar except the collar is yellow but the only problem is that I live in Florida :/ if you have any idea as to what it could be please email me at

  4. I live in florida and just found one swimming on my pool. He now lives in the woods.

  5. I have one living in the back yard in Aberdeen Ms. North Ms.