Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)
Sub-order Serpentes, Family Colubridae
Virginia valeriae pulchra
Photo of Adult Mountain Earthsnake courtesy of Don Forester
7 inches – 13 inches
Photo of Habitat for
courtesy of Matt Sell
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 you find one, please contact the MD DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service.
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"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.