Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)


Mountain Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae pulchra)

Photo of Adult Mountain Earthsnake courtesy of Don Forester
Photo of Adult Mountain Earthsnake courtesy of Don Forester


Size:
7 inches – 13 inches.

Appearance:
  • Color variable but may be reddish-brown to brown to gray.
  • May have 2 rows of small black dots running the length of the body.
  • The belly is white to yellowish and may have a pink border.
  • The scales are weakly keeled, unlike those of the smooth earthsnake.

Photo of Habitat for Mountain Earthsnake - courtesy of Matt Sell
Photo of Habitat for
Mountain Earthsnake
courtesy of Matt Sell


Habitats:

Prefers rich wooded areas with water nearby and loose, often sandy, soil. Grassy slopes with rock cover also used.


How to Find:

This is a very secretive animal, preferring to stay underground. The best time to find one is after rainstorms. May hide under rocks and rotted logs. Usually docile; will play dead and exude musk when cornered. Non-venomous.


Distribution in Maryland:

Found only in western Garrett County. This snake is listed as state Endangered. If found, please report sightings to the Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service.

 

Mountain Earthsnake - Distribution in Maryland