|Common Name:||Eastern Smooth Earthsnake|
|Scientific Name:||Virginia valeriae valeriae|
|Genus:||Virginia is derived from the Latin word virgo which means "virgin".|
|Species:||valeriae is to honor Miss Valeria Blaney, the first documented collector of the species.|
|Subspecies:||valeriae is to honor Miss Valeria Blaney, the first documented collector of the species.|
|Vernacular Names:||Blaney's snake, brown worm snake, eastern gray snake, gray snake, ground snake, smooth brown snake, spotted ground snake|
|Average Length:||7 - 10 in. (18 - 25.4 cm)|
|Virginia Record Length:||12.6 in. (32 cm)|
|Record length:||15.5 in. (39.3 cm)|
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: This species has smooth dorsal scales except for faint keels on parts of the tail. There are 15 scale rows at midbody. This subspecies occurs statewide *1006*. Maximum known length in Virginia is 12.6in.(320mm) *10760*. Outside Virginia, the maximum known length of this species is 15.375 inches. Adults are usually 7-10 inches in length *11523*. The anal plate is divided, has two internasals, loreal scale is present and it has no preoculars; the dorsum of the body, head, and tail are a reddish brown to dark gray, adults often have an irreggular pattern of tiny black flecks or spots on the dorsum; venter is completely cream color; Virginia v. valeria has 15 dorsal scale rows at midbody where as the subspecies Virginia v. pulchra has 17 dorsal scale rows; adult females tend to be larger than the males and have on average higher numbers of ventral scales and lower numbers of subcaudal scales than the male *10760*. Juveniles have the same color and patterns as the adults, they have the dark line in front of the eye, but no light collar is behind the head *10760*.
REPRODUCTION: This species has up to 12 young which are born in the late summer *1006*. The snakes are viviparous, mating probably occurs in the spring and fall; known birth periods are in July and August, litters range in size from 2-9 in local studies *10760*.
BEHAVIOR: This species is usually underground but will come out during heavy summer rains. When picked up, they will seldom bite. They feed on earthworms, small slugs, snails, soft-bodied insects and insect larvae *1006*. They will sometimes act as if dead when picked up; sometimes give off a musk from the glands at the base of the tail and release feces when captured *10760*.
AQUATIC/TERRESTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS: This species is preyed on by mole snakes, scarlet snakes, milk snakes, raccoons and opossums. The young may be taken by large spiders, certain beetles and toads *1006*. Known predators of this species also include black racers (Coluber constrictor constrictor) and eastern kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula getula) *11509,11499,11523*.
POPULATION PARAMETERS: The maximum known longevity is 9 years and 6 months *11523*.
References for Life History
Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information Service: Species Booklet
*Click on a thumbnail for a larger version.
|Earthsnake head scalation||Earthsnake body scalation|