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Contia longicaudae; Forest Sharp-tailed Snake   

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Contia longicaudae
Contia longicaudae
Forest Sharp-tailed Snake
Photographer: Aaron Schusteff

ID: 0000 0000 0716 0092 (2016-07-02)

Copyright © 2016 Aaron Schusteff

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  • date of photo  Mar 15, 2014
  • location   Butano State Park (San Mateo County, California, US)
  • notes   This short, pencil-thin, snake was found in cool, moist, forest habitat with coastal redwoods, douglas fir, coast live oak, and lots of shrubs.

    Checking the CaliforniaHerps web site this appeared to be either Contia tenuis or Contia longicauda. The technical character for distinguishing the two species involves the length of the tail, as measured in the number of scales beyond the cloaca on the venter...which I didn't count or photograph. The brilliant red here seemed a better match with some of the CaliforniaHerps photos of C. tenuis. But when I asked naturalist friend Alice Abela what she thought, she replied that this species tends to get duller as they age, and the images of C. longicauda on the CaliforniaHerps web page seemed to mostly be older adults, whereas this looked to be a younger more colorful individual. Also, the coastal Santa Cruz County location and moist forest habitat clearly support Contia longicauda. Indeed the red pattern of the dorsum of the body, together with the black head, correspond well with images of C. longicauda here.

    Both Contia species are said to feed primarily on slugs...and we saw an abundance of banana slugs throughout the day. Also, according to this informative web page (and others web sites), these snakes spend most their time under the duff or soil (i.e. they're fossorial), and this one was found scurrying across a paved road. I'm thinking we were lucky enough to see it because it wanted to cross the road, and so was forced to briefly travel exposed above ground.

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  • photo category: Animal - Reptile

  • common names   Forest Sharp-tailed Snake (photographer)
  • View The Reptile Database record for Contia longicaudae
  • View all photos in CalPhotos of Contia longicaudae
  • Check Google Images for Contia longicaudae

  • The photographer's identification Contia longicaudae has not been reviewed. Click here to review or comment on the identification.

    Using this photo   The thumbnail photo (128x192 pixels) on this page may be freely used for personal or academic purposes without prior permission under the Fair Use provisions of US copyright law as long as the photo is clearly credited with © 2016 Aaron Schusteff. For other uses, or if you have questions, contact Aaron Schusteff arbonius2[AT] (Replace the [AT] with the @ symbol before sending an email.)


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