Smooth Earthsnake Virginia valeriae

Gravid Female from Brown County
Adult from Southern Illinois

Identification: This small snake is most distinctive for its complete lack of patterning and nearly uniformly brown color. Most individuals are gray-brown with a lighter, tan underbelly. This is a very small snake and most adults are under a foot (30 cm) long.

Similar Species: The only other snake this small with similar coloration in Indiana is the eastern wormsnake. To complicate matters, both snakes are commonly found in the same habitat, most often under rocks and logs. However, wormsnakes have shiny smooth scales, a pinkish underbelly, a sharp pointed tail, and an indistinct head and neck.

Distribution: Earthsnakes are most abundant in the unglaciated, rugged hills of south-central Indiana, but their range extends into west central Indiana along the deep sandstone gorges surrounding Sugar Creek. They spend much of their time underground, but are sometimes found under rocks and logs.

Mesic Forest in Brown County
Shalestone Glade in Floyd County

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Smooth Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae)
Photographs