Chihuahuan Black-Headed Snake Control

(Tantilla wilcoxi)

Believe it or not, black-headed snakes can be great to have around – after all, they love to eat scorpions, centipedes, spiders, and other insects. But if they move inside our homes, or their numbers become too abundant, something must be done. Here’s what you need to know when dealing with a possible Chihuahuan black-headed snake on your property.

Chihuahuan Black-Headed Snake ID and Habits

Tantilla are nocturnal, secretive snakes. A small (gets to be a little over a foot in length), slender, light tan or cream-colored snake with a dark gray-brown cap on the top of the head. There’s an off-white or pale cream collar behind the dark cap, and a thin gray-brown line crosses the neck and back of head. The dark headcap extends down to the corner of the mouth and a small white patch marks each cheek just behind the eye. The belly is cream –colored, gradually turning light pink or orange towards the tail. This snake’s lack of dark markings on the belly distinguish it from the similar-looking ring-necked snake.

Most Chihuahuan black-headed snakes are found in Arizona, in heavily wooded canyons with abundant leaf litter and canopy cover. They spend most of their time hidden under moist leaf litter, or under rocks and debris, where they hunt soft-bodied insects such as centipedes and millipedes.

If you’re ever bitten by a black-headed snake, make sure to get it checked out. These snakes are not venomous, but with any wild animal bite there’s a risk of infection.

Chihuahuan Black-Headed Snake Control

There are several steps to dealing with snake problems: making your property less inviting to snakes, and dealing with any snakes that are already there.

Before undertaking any control measures, however, call your local fish and wildlife department, or a professional snake control company, to learn about the conservation status your snakes might have and which control measures are allowed in your situation.

Habitat Modification for snakes

In settings where snakes are common, eliminate stands of tall vegetation and remove piles of rock, lumber, and debris that might attract snakes to search for prey or to seek shelter. Close all entrances to rodent burrows, which are used by snakes as hiding spots and sometimes hunting grounds.


Structural gaps and crevices larger than 1/4 inch and within three feet of grade should be closed off – snakes can pass through very small openings.
Crawlspace vents should not have screens with larger than 1/4 inch mesh.
A thorough search should be made for cracks in the foundation, unscreened crawlspace vents and gaps around basement window frames.
Check clearances under doors, and look for improper sealing where plumbing and utility lines penetrate the foundation of the building.
Chihuahuan Black-Headed Snake Removal
If you’re confident that you do indeed have a Chihuahuan black-headed snake in your house, and you want to deal with it yourself, try this: place a trash can on the side of the snake, and use a broom or a similar tool to gently sweep it inside the trashcan. Relocate it well away from residential areas, and seal up any openings in your house where it can get back in.
If you have any doubt about which kind of snake you have, or if you suspect several, a call to a snake control company is warranted. They can also advise you on effective control and exclusion measures and trapping techniques. Take advantage of their expertise if you want to deal with your snake problem quickly and effectively!

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Nuisance Animals