Eastern Smooth Earthsnake

Scientific Name: Virginia valeriae valeriae
Size: 7 - 13 inches (18 - 33 cm)
Status: Species of special concern

Deciduous forest, open hardwood forest, wood/field borders. May be found under rocks, logs, leaf litter, and other surface debris.

Small fossorial species mostly plain gray, brown or reddish brown with scattered small black dots or flecks. The belly is unmarked white or yellow in color. Scales smooth with a divided anal plate. Juveniles are similar to adults. Rare in Pennsylvania having not been observed in recent years. Found under various cover objects.

Adult Coloration:
  • The dorsal background is dark grey to dark brown.
  • Four longitudinal rows of small black spots may be present.
  • The chin and ventrals are white.
  • Labial scales are white and may have dark mottling.
Adult Characteristics:
  • Small stout-bodied with short tail.
  • The head is short , cone-shaped and is not distinct from the body.
  • The dorsal scales are smooth and polished.
Juvenile Characteristics:
  • Similar to adults.
Scale Count:
  • 15 (17) scale rows at midbody.
  • 15 scale rows at anterior.
  • 17 scale rows near the tail.
  • 107-134 ventral scales
  • 22-45 subcaudals scales | 2 rows of subcaudals
  • 2 nasal scales
  • 1 long horizonal loreal scale
  • 0 preocular scales
  • 2 postoculars scales
  • 1 + 2 temporal scales
  • 6 supralabials
  • 6 infralabials
  • Anal plate is divided

May be Confused With:
  • Hulse, C. and McCoy C. J. and Ellen Censky ,1998. Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. 343-345pp.
  • Ernst, Carl H. and Ernst, Evelyn M. ,2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada. 448-451pp.
  • Scott Moser
  • Kyle Loucks
  • Brandon Ruhe
  • Marlin Corn
  • Don Becker (psychoticnature.com)
  • Andrew Hoffman

Heads up!

Please contribute your observation of this and other herps to the Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey. Your help is needed.

Submit Your Finding