Earth Snakes
Virginia, striatula and valeriae

Family: Natricidae - Harmless Live-Bearing Snakes

Typical Adult Size: 7 to 10 inches

Reproduction: live bearing

Eye Pupil: round

Dorsal Scales: striatula - keeled; valeriae - smooth or weakly keeled

Anal Scale: usually divided


SC Range Map: striatula

SC Range Map: valeriae

Additional Images

Earth Snakes are small, secretive snakes that are brown, gray or reddish colored on their backs and have essentially no patterning. Adult length is usually in the range of 7 to 10 inches. They give live birth.

There are 2 species in their genus: Smooth Earth Snake and Rough Earth Snake. The most obvious difference between the species is seen in the dorsal (back) scales. Smooth Earth Snakes have smooth or weakly keeled scales. Rough Earth Snakes have keeled scales. Smooth Earth Snakes may be found throughout South Carolina. Rough Earth Snakes may be found in most of South Carolina, except for the upper Piedmont and Mountains. They may occur more abundantly in localize areas.

Earth Snakes usually hide in leaf litter and loose soil, and under rocks. They feed on earthworms, soft-bodied insects and insect larva.

My personal experience has been that Earth Snakes are the snake species which cats most often kill and leave as trophies on the walk or patio.

Additional Images:

Rough Earth Snake, Virginia striatula Eastern Smooth Earth Snake, Virginia valeriae valeriae
adult (approx. 7 inches) young (approx. 5 inches)
adult, belly young (approx. 5 inches)
adult, head adult (approx. 8 inches)
  back and belly
  anal plate
  eye scales
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July 07, 2009
Contact: South Carolina Reptiles and Amphibians