Squamata

Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)


Family Colubridae

Mountain Earthsnake

Common Name:

Mountain Earthsnake


Scientific Name:

Virginia valeriae pulchra

Photo of Adult Mountain Earthsnake courtesy of Don Forester
Photo of Adult Mountain Earthsnake courtesy of Don Forester


Size:
7 inches – 13 inches.

Appearance:
  • Color variable but may be reddish-brown to brown to gray.
  • May have 2 rows of small black dots running the length of the body.
  • The belly is white to yellowish and may have a pink border.
  • The scales are weakly keeled, unlike those of the smooth earthsnake.

Photo of Habitat for Mountain Earthsnake - courtesy of Matt Sell
Photo of Habitat for
Mountain Earthsnake
courtesy of Matt Sell


Habitats:

Prefers rich wooded areas with water nearby and loose, often sandy, soil. Grassy slopes with rock cover also used.


How to Find:

This is a very secretive animal, preferring to stay underground. The best time to find one is after rainstorms. May hide under rocks and rotted logs. Usually docile; will play dead and exude musk when cornered. Non-venomous.


Distribution in Maryland:

Found only in western Garrett County. This snake is listed as state Endangered. If you find one, please contact the MD DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service.​

 

Mountain Earthsnake - Distribution in Maryland