Eastern Worm Snake
Carphophis amoenus amoenus

Family: Dipsadidae - Slender Rear-fanged Snakes

Typical Adult Size: 7 to 11 inches

Reproduction: egg laying

Eye Pupil: round

Dorsal Scales: smooth

Anal Scale: divided

SC Range Map

Additional Images

Although this small species has small rear fangs and a mild venom, it is considered harmless to humans.

Eastern Worm Snakes are small, shiny snakes found throughout South Carolina. Adults are usually 8 to 10 inches in length. Their scales are smooth and opalescent. The anal plate is divided and the tail ends with a sharp point. Wormsnakes lay eggs.

Worm Snakes get their common name from their resemblance to earthworms, particularly the large Nightcrawler Worms. They eat worms and soft-bodied insects. The point at the end of the tail is just scales (not a stinger). They share this characteristic with the Rainbow and Mud snakes. Each of these species eats similarly shaped prey: the Worm Snake eats earthworms; the Rainbow Snake eats eels; and the Mud Snake eats Amphiumas and Sirens (large, nearly legless salamanders). It is thought the tail point maybe used to prick the prey to facilitate capture or swallowing.

Worm Snakes hide under logs, rocks, and leaves. They are good burrowers. People often encounter them while preparing planting beds or soils. They like moist conditions. During dry conditions they retreat underground. I have found many of them in accumulated, moist leaves. They sometimes prowl on the surface at night and I have often found them on roads at night.

Additional Images:

Eastern Worm Snake, Carphophis amoenus amoenus
comparison of earthworm and wormsnake
adult, preshed
pointed tail, preshed
gravid female
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July 07, 2009
Contact: South Carolina Reptiles and Amphibians