Tantilla hobartsmithi Smith’s Black-headed Snake
Some other names for this species:
Southwestern Black-headed Snake
Darwin Falls, Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, CaliforniaMay 18, 2002
Smith’s Black-headed Snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi) Smith’s Black-headed Snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi)
This is a small, secretive, seldom-seen snake. I was lucky to find this one under a piece of plywood apparently left in this wilderness so that I could find herps under it. A toad shared its company.
Sedona, Yavapai County, ArizonaApril 11, 2005
Smith’s Black-headed Snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi) Smith’s Black-headed Snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi) Smith’s Black-headed Snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi)
I stayed in Sedona for nearly a month at a friend's house. About three times a week I'd head out into the local natural areas in the late afternoon and early evening looking for herps. I saw a few lizards skittering about at that hour, but most of my discoveries were under rocks. Typically I'd see one snake a day under a rock. This little black-headed snake was a nice discovery since they are difficult to find.

One of the rocks in the last photograph is the very one that covered this little snake.

Big Bend National Park, Brewster County, TexasApril 25, 2010
Smith’s Black-headed Snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi)
The range of this species includes more than a half-dozen disjoint patches of land from south-central California across to south-central Texas. It is named after the author of the finest book ever written about U.S. lizards (though the new Lizards of the American Southwest isn't too far behind).
Printed references: