Plains Black-Headed Snake Control

(Tantilla nigriceps)
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 Plains black-headed snake on your property.

Plains Black-Headed Snake ID and Habits - The Plains black-headed snake is a small (up to 15" in total length), slender, tan or cream-colored snake with a dark gray-brown or black head cap. A red, pink, or orange stripe runs down the center of the belly. If you have this snake on your property, you’re in luck: it eats a variety of invertebrates including centipedes, scorpions, and beetle larvae.

Your luck in coming across this snake increases if you’re in its range, from southeastern Wyoming and southern Nebraska, south through eastern Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, southeastern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, to northern Mexico.
This secretive, nocturnal ground-dweller spends the majority of its time in underground burrows. If it dares to adventure aboveground, it will hide under rocks, logs, leaf litter, and other surface debris. It hibernates during the late fall and winter.
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.

Plains 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 Plains 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 or hiding spots. Close all entrances to rodent burrows, which are used by snakes as hiding spots and sometimes hunting grounds.

Exclusion for Plains Snakes

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.

Plains Black-Headed Snake Removal

If you’re confident that you do indeed have a Plains 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!