Field notes and photography by Bryan D. Hughes

Smith’s Black-Headed Snake

Here’s one of the tiny, ground dwelling species that are incredibly common throughout Arizona, Smith’s Black Headed Snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi). Of course they’re harmless, but they still scare a good amount of people around town since they’re able to easily gain entry into homes. Whenever I get a call from my snake removal service to remove a snake from INSIDE a home, it’s often one of these guys.

Tantilla coralsnakeseatmii

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6 Responses to “Smith’s Black-Headed Snake”

  1. Richard says:

    I love the species name in the post…coralsnakeseatmii. Made me chuckle. Great site by the way. If you are ever out on the west side let me know.


  2. Crotalus says:

    I take it from the “scientific” name that it is considered snake bait?

  3. Crotalus says:

    Bryan, this is a reply from way back when, when we were talking about Carlsbad, NM. The Horse Crippler I know is a barrel-type cactus that is disc-shaped, and gets its name from the fact that it is flat with the ground, often hides in grass, and pierces the soft underside of a horse’s hoof. Its scientific name is Echinocactus texensis. The “agave-looking” plant to which you refer is really an Agave. It is Agave lechuguilla, and I understand that it has gained the name “Horse Crippler” in New Mexico because it can stab a horse around its fetlocks.

  4. Crotalus says:

    BTW, I usually call Agave lechuguilla “Shin Dagger”.

  5. Bryan says:

    Yikes, I totally get the reference. I stepped on one right as I began a hike that went right through my boot. Not the best way to start a day hike.

  6. Crotalus says:

    OWEEEE! Strong buggers, aren’t they?

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