San Francisco Bay Wildlife
Wildlife of the San Francisco Bay Area
 Home

Wildlife
 |--Species
 |--Mammals
 |--Birds
 |--Reptiles
 |--Amphibians
 |--Fish
 |--Sharks
 |--Insects
 |--Butterflies
 |--Dragonflies
 |--Spiders
 |--Crabs

Places
 |--Locations
 |--Bay Area
 |--Local Sites

Activities
 |--Activities
 |--Butterfly Counts
 |--Commercial

Resources
 |--Books
 |--Photos
 |--Organizations
 |--Rescue/Rehab
 |--Local Sites
 |--Links
 |--News

Site Info
 |--Blog
 |--Search
 |--Contact Us
 |--About Us
 |--Internships



Related Links
 |--San Francisco Gartersnake

Sharp-tailed Snake
Sharp-tailed Snake - Contia tenuis
Sharp-tailed Snake

Sharp-tailed Snake - Contia tenuis

Overview

It is a small, reddish snake with striking black and white cross-lines down the underside. It is typically around 30 cm. long. There is a sharp spine at the end of the tail, which gives the snake its name. It seems to remain in a small home range and may have adapted to suburban habitats like backyards. It feeds on slugs.

Where to View

This is a secretive, nocturnal snake and hard to see.

  • They are found in Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties.
  • We have seen it in our backyard in the East Bay Tri-valley area and have heard of other similar sightings. Our sightings have often been at night. Sometimes when some object in the backyard was picked up, a snake was discovered lying beneath it.
  • We have seen online reports from backyards in Martinez and Moraga.
  • Clifford & Karen recently (August 2014) sent in a sighting from the Fairway Glen neighborhood near Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

In 2010, this species was split into two - Sharp-tailed Snake (Contia tenuis) and Forest Sharp-tailed Snake (Contia longicauda). The latter is found only on the peninsula and the two species may be found in proximity in San Mateo, Sonoma and Santa Cruz Counties.

Articles and Links

  • Sharp-tailed Snake - detailed page with photographs, description, habits and habitat information from californiaherps.com.  ...link 
  • Forest Sharp-tailed Snake - detailed page with photographs, description, habits and habitat information from californiaherps.com.  ...link 
  • Nice photos of a Forest Sharp-tailed Snake in the Santa Cruz mountains by David Jahn, May 2010.  ...link 
  • Map with specific locations where sightings have occurred - with a lot of dots around the Bay area.  ...map 
  • First sighting at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Fremont, November 2012.  ...map 
  • Article about Sharp-tailed Snakes, their diet and other details by Joe Eaton, The Berkeley Daily Planet, April 2011.  ...map 
  • Life History Account of Sharp-tailed Snake, S. Morey, California Dept. of Fish and Game.  ...map 

Video

© 2007-2016 InfoPlace, Inc. All rights reserved