Eastern Worm Snake

Carphophis amoenus amoenus

Copyright, John White

Eastern Worm Snakes are small snakes, only growing up to 15 inches long. Their color can vary from pinkish-brown to dark-brown. They closely resemble earthworms, which is how they get their name.

This snake also has a sharp tip on its tail, though it is not dangerous. The tip is used to help the snake dig.

Eastern Worm Snakes are found where there is damp soil, especially in forests. They also live in meadows and backyards.

Worm snakes are mostly active during crepuscular (evening and early morning) times and at night.

Copyright, Randy Emmitt, www.rlephoto.com

Copyright, John White

Worm snakes are burrowers and spend most of their time in soil or under logs and rocks. They also dig into rotten logs and stumps (especially pines), and under dead leaves and bark. In times of very dry weather, these snakes dig deep into the earth.

Eastern Worm Snakes breed in Spring and Fall. After mating, female worm snakes lay 1 to 8 eggs in a rotted log, or under a log or rock. Young snakes are about 4 inches long when they hatch. They are full grown in 3 years.

Worm snakes hibernate underground during Winter.

Copyright, David Blevins

Mark Moran

Copyright, J. D. Willson

Eastern Worm Snakes eat more earthworms than anything else. Other foods include slugs, snails, small salamanders, and soft-bodied insect larvae (like grubs and caterpillars).

Predators of worm snakes include opossum, skunk, fox, Blue Jay, crows, other large birds, larger snakes, toads, large salamanders, and cats.

Eastern Worm Snakes are often found in soil where termites live because termites provide soil that is easy to burrow in. Worm snakes and other ground-burrowing animals help each other by loosening soil and making it easier to dig.

If disturbed worm snakes can release a foul odor.

Eastern Worm Snakes are sometimes found in the open on cloudy, rainy days.

Copyright, John White

Relationships in Nature:

PREY
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Earthworm

American Toad

Poison Ivy

Eastern Subterranean Termite Mu

Blue Bottle Fly

Blue Jay

Virginia Creeper

Earthworm Mu

Patent-leather Beetle

American Crow

Wild Strawberry

Soil Mite Mu

Common Black Ground Beetle

Black Rat Snake

Kentucky Bluegrass

Patent-leather Beetle Mu

Leopard Slug

Striped Skunk

Greenbrier

Disc Cannibal Snail

Copperhead

Common Dandelion

Red-backed Salamander

Red Fox

Wild Grape

Fiery Searcher

Raccoon

English Plantain

Eastern Forest Snail

Virginia Opossum

Pink Lady's Slipper

Spotted Salamander

Domestic Cat

Red Clover

Pennsylvania Firefly

Spotted Salamander

Running Cedar

Eastern Hercules Beetle

Skunk Cabbage

Crane Fly

Switchgrass

Eastern Newt

Common Mullein

Climbing Bittersweet

Bushy Aster

Relationship to Humans:

Eastern Worm Snakes are harmless to humans. If held, they will try to burrow between a person's fingers. People destroy worm snake habitat when they develop land to build houses or other buildings. Worm snakes help people by controlling insect populations and other animals.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Reptile
ORDER
Squamata
FAMILY
Colubridae
GENUS
Carphophis
SPECIES
Carphophis amoenus amoenus

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