Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)

Sub-order Serpentes, Family Colubridae

Eastern Smooth Earthsnake
Virginia v. valeriae

Eastern Smooth Earthsnake Adult Photo by Jay Kilian
Photo of Adult Eastern Smooth Earthsnake
courtesy of Jay Kilian

Size

7 - 10 inches. Record - 15⅜ inches.

Appearance

  • A plain small reddish brown or gray snake with no markings.

  • The back may have a faint light stripe down the centerline.

  • The belly is white or yellowish and unmarked.

  • Scales are essentially non-keeled, except for those on the tail which are very weakly keeled.

  • Eastern Smooth Earthsnake Adult Photo by Scott Smith
    Photo of Adult Eastern Smooth Earthsnake
    courtesy of Scott Smith

    Habitats

    Old fields adjacent to deciduous woodlands, trails and dirt roadways through woodlands, any forest type, pastures, urban and suburban woodlots.

    How to Find

    A very secretive species. Seldom observed above ground except after cool, heavy rains. Look under coarse woody debris, straw/hay bales and trash on field-woodland edges. Particularly under thin logs and boards that have been warmed by the sun. Non-venomous. Docile when handled.

    Eastern Smooth Earthsnake Habitat Photo by Tony Prochaska
    Photo of Habitat for Eastern Smooth Earthsnake
    courtesy of Tony Procheska

    Distribution in Maryland

    Found primarily on the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont regions.

    Maryland Distribution Map for Eastern Smooth Earthsnake

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    Maryland Amphibian
    and Reptile Atlas Project

    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

    For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

    The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.