Snakes have different head colors. This can be the main color of the body also covering the head. It can also be another type of color.
Black coloring on the head is rare, but not impossible to see in the outback or even around the house.
Snakes with black heads offer a contrasting look that sometimes scares people away.
Why do snakes have black heads?
There seems to be no logic behind a black head and a colored body. However, this is an adaptation for many snakes.
- For camouflage
Burrowing snakes tend to stick their heads out of the burrow in cold weather or when expecting some type of rodent or prey to come along.
A black head allows snakes to remain undetected while their head is out of the burrow and while their tail is still inside.
The following species of snakes with black heads tend to be a common sight.
- For heat
Snakes with black heads such as Black-headed pythons are known to do everything they can to maintain their body heat.
Black is known to absorb the light from the sun and the heat of the sun.
As a result, snakes with black heads can better retain body heat.
In turn, this helps speed up digestion.
Many snakes with lower body temperatures take a longer time to digest foods.
1. Southwestern Blackhead Snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi)
Also known as Smith’s Black Snake, the Southwestern Blackhead Snake is a species that has a black head.
Native to North America, this snake is exclusively found in Southwestern states, as its name implies.
The reduced size of the species is one of the first things you notice about the Southwestern Blackheaded Snake.
This species measures around 15 inches.
Southwestern Blackheaded Snakes have a brown dorsal coloring. They have a cream area separating the black head from the rest of the brown body and tail.
Southwestern Blackheaded Snakes are further differentiated by a central red ventral stripe.
This species is fossorial. It spends most of its life underground.
Alternatively, it prefers to dig under piles of leaves or organic material.
This snakes only eats small insects.
2. Western Black-headed Snake (Tantilla planiceps)
Western Black-headed snakes are closely related to Southern Black-headed snakes and Plains Black-headed snakes.
This species is also native to Southwestern US habitats, mainly within California.
Snakes of this genus have a distinct black head and an olive-green body. They make the most of existing crevices for shelter and have adapted to a flat head for easy access.
Western Black-headed Snakes are found around San Francisco but also anywhere else around the state where there’s sufficient moisture.
This species is highly dependent on moisture as it feeds on centipedes.
If there aren’t too many centipedes around the snake can remain short at 7-8 inches.
With abundant food, this species can grow to a maximum length of 15 inches.
3. Plains Blackhead Snake (Tantilla nigriceps)
Plains Blackheaded Snakes are a small Colubrid species. They grow to a maximum of 15 inches and they remain a species that can easily fit your palm.
The species has a light brown color with an orange line across the central dorsum. This line can also be yellow.
Plains Blackheaded Snakes have a black head. Its black head is separated from the light brown body by a bright neckband.
Plains Blackheaded Snakes prefer moist places and freely make their way into basements through wall cracks and open windows.
You may find your basement is home to a Plains Blackheaded Snake if you live in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or Colorado.
Only active at night, this snake might still be lurking outside of the house, mainly under leaves.
4. Black-headed Python (Aspidites melanocephalus)
This hissing snake is non-venomous. It has interesting coloring and a docile nature making it one of the atypical but still good pet snakes.
Black-headed Pythons are native to Australia. They live in harsh arid conditions among rocks in the Northern part of the country.
These snakes have a triangular black head and a thick but slightly flattened cream, brown, and yellow body.
These pythons are also among the largest snakes with black heads in the world. They can reach a maximum size of just over 6 feet.
Black-headed Pythons are snakes that can swim. However, they prefer to hunt on dry land.
The species is known to use constriction to quickly overpower all types of small prey.
Black-headed Pythons are rather docile snakes being great as pet snakes.
Their docile nature allows for handling as these snakes remain calm even if you raise them off the ground.
5. Smith’s Black-headed Snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi)
These snakes that eat centipedes and millipedes are known for having black heads. A rare morph of this species is also seen with a brown head.
A red belly is also specific to Smith’s Black-headed Snakes. The red central section of the species has white borders.
You may need to deal with Smith’s Black-headed Snakes if you live in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern Texas.
This species is small and secretive. Its nocturnal nature means actual sightings are rare.
Its small head allows Smith’s Black-headed Snake to burrow quickly.
In most cases, these snakes make their way underground when seeing people.
6. Dumeril’s Black-headed Snake (Sibynophis subpunctatus )
Dumeril’s Black-headed Snakes are among the most common Colubridae-species of snakes with black heads in Asia.
This snake has a small body with a size of up to 18 inches at best.
Snakes of this genus have a dark green to olive dorsal color with a red underbelly. White margins separate the dorsal olive from the ventral red.
Its head is mostly black with a few white irregular spots.
A small brown area is also distinguished right behind its head.
Dumeril’s Black-headed Snakes are common in India and Sri Lanka. The species mainly feeds on small bugs.
Geckos are among its favorites.
Juvenile snakes of other species are also often consumed by this small snake as long as they are smaller.
7. Tantilla cucullata
This species of Colubrid snake is native to Texas. It’s a species that’s exclusively found in The Chisos Mountains (reachable by Basin Jct.) and the Davis Mountains (reachable by TX-118).
Dry soils and short vegetation are specific to its natural habitat.
The species is identified by its mostly brown or brown-red body with a black head and a black neck.
No subspecies of this snake have been reported.
8. Black-headed Cat Snake (Boiga nigriceps)
Black-headed Cat Snakes are one of the venomous species of snakes with black heads. Its bite is dangerous as its venom is compared to the venom of Copperhead snakes in toxicity.
This snake has a black head that inspires its name. its body comes in many colors such as green, brown, red, and yellow.
Black-headed Cat Snakes impress with their size as well. These are snakes that routinely reach a length of over 5 feet.
Despite their large size, Black-headed Cat snakes are among the most agile Colubrids.
They are an arboreal species spending much of their time up on trees.
On occasion, these snakes can get down from trees to look for food.
Small mammals are the main food source of these agile snakes.
Birds are a frequent meal given their arboreal nature.
Black-headed Cat Snakes can also eat other snakes.
You can only find these snakes in Southeast Asia’s tropical rainforests.
9. Rim Rock Crown Snake (Tantilla oolitica)
Rim Rock Crown snakes are among the threated Florida snakes with a black head.
These snakes have a red body and black coloring on the top of their head.
A limited natural habitat to the Extreme South of the state makes this species a Colubrid that cannot increase in population easily.
Rim Rock Crown Snakes are only found on oolitic rocks, a type of spherical white rocks found in Southern Florida.
Rocky terrains are among the favorites of the species.
Pine woodlands are also known to be natural habitats for the Rim Rock Crown Snake.
The very specific oolitic habitat of the species means this snake rarely makes it indoors.
You’ll have to travel to Florida Keys or Dade Country to see this snake before it goes extinct.
10. Black-headed Royal Snake (Spalerosophis atriceps)
There are 3 Royal snakes in India and Black-headed Royal snakes are one of these species.
This is a Colubrid snake with excellent climbing abilities.
While non-venomous, this is a type of snake that grows to a length of up to a few feet.
It’s among the Colubrids that eat rodents. Black-headed Royal Snakes have a higher presence in Western India and Pakistan.
Snakes of this genus come in a yellow color, an orange color, a yellow-orange, or a green color.
They have black heads or black coloring on the top of the head.
Black blotches are seen from head to tail.
These snakes change colors into faded or muted variants as they grow old.
The black patterns on the dorsal side of the snake also begin to fade with time.