Earth Snake, Eastern Smooth

Latin name

Virginia Valeriae Valeriae


Fast facts

  • Adult body length: 7 - 12 inches
  • Body length at birth: 3 - 4½ inches
  • Breeding period: probably around April
  • Young per year: 2 - 14 born August to September
  • Typical foods: soft-bodied insects and larvae, earthworms


    The Eastern Smooth Earth Snake is one of Ohio's smaller snakes. Its slim body is gray to reddish- or yellowish-brown, generally lighter in color than most surface soils in Ohio. It is without noticeable markings, although there may be a faint light stripe down the middle of the back.


    Overall Range
    Eastern United States, from New Jersey to northern Florida and westward to southern Ohio and Alabama.

    Range in Ohio
    In Ohio this snake is limited to the southernmost counties.

    Map showing the range of this snake in the south of Ohio

    Local Habitat
    Damp deciduous forests and adjacent areas such as old fields, trails, secondary roads and wooded residential areas; rocky, wooded hillsides.


    The Earth Snakes are highly secretive and seldom seen. Heavy rains will sometimes bring them above ground, but even then they often stay hidden under rocks. Most of the time they remain below ground where they find their food.

    The soil-like color of these snakes also helps to keep them from being noticed by people. One author reports that the Earth Snakes are common in local areas, and further supposes that they "may be more abundant than it seems." Eastern Smooth Earth Snakes sometimes congregate in small numbers as the weather grows colder in autumn. They hibernate under large rocks or in accumulations of woodland debris. They often hibernate with other small snakes such as Ring-necked Snakes and Worm Snakes.