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Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network - Réseau Canadien de 
Conservation des Amphibiens et des Reptiles

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Sharptail Snake / Couleuvre à Queue Fine


Sharptail Snake

The Sharptail Snake, and other slender, rear-fanged snakes, which were included within the Family Colubridae, have recently been placed in the Family Dipsadidae.

Description
The Sharptail Snake is reddish brown to gray in colour, with distinctive black and whitish crossbars on the belly. The tail ends in a small sharp spine. The pupil of the eye is round. The Sharptail Snake is a small snake and rarely grows beyond 45 cm in total length.

Confusing Species
The Sharptail Snake is the smallest snake found in British Columbia. There are two other unpatterned snakes in BC. The Western Yellow-bellied Racer is greenish to brown, but the belly is always yellow. The Rubber Boa is uniform olive-green, reddish-brown, or brown and looks like it is made from rubber. In addition, the tail is rounded, rather than pointed.

Distribution
Sharptail Snakes are only found in a few areas on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.There is one record of a single snake from the B.C. interior.

Habitat
A variety of habitats are used by this snake ranging from grassland to forest. It is usually found near water or in clearings near forests. When the soil is damp it spends much of time under rocks or logs, but when the soil dries out it will retreat underground.

Reproduction
Sharptail Snakes lay 2-8 eggs. The eggs hatch in late summer and the young are approximately 7 cm long at hatching.

Natural History
There is little know about the ecology of the Sharptail Snake. It is most often seen during the rainy season. The diet is composed mainly of slugs.

Conservation Concerns
The Sharptail Snake is quite rare. Its preference for coastal areas in BC places it in conflict with urban development in these areas. Sharptail Snake is designated Endangered in Canada by COSEWIC.