Eastern Worm Snake
IN MARYLAND

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What does the eastern worm snake look like?

The eastern worm snake has a tiny fragile frame and looks a lot like an earthworm. The maximum length of this species is 7” inches to 12” inches. On occasion a specimen of up to 15” is founded. The back (dorsal) of the snake is brownish or charcoal or dark grayish. The belly (ventral) area is a pale pink or salmon color. The surface of the species is very smooth and silky like which give off a shiny appearance. The head is so small it’s hard to see where the body ends and the head starts. This snake does borrow which is probably why the eyes are so small however they can see.

Where is the eastern worm snake found in Montgomery County?

The eastern worm snake is found throughout many different environments and is one of the most populated snakes in Montgomery County. They are found in any area that has consistent damp soil especially near a forest. They are also found in meadows, and backyards. This snake is often removed from the damp basements and crawl spaces of older homes in Potomac, Poolesville, Bethesda, Silver Spring and Gaithersburg. During heavy rains or long periods of rain it’s not uncommon to find the eastern worm snake in the open. If your yard and foundation are often damp and constantly under shade in the summer then it is possible that you may encounter an eastern worm snake at some point.

What animals pray on the eastern worm snake?

The eastern worm snake has a wide variety of predators in Montgomery County. Because of the eastern worm snakes small size many different species of birds will feed on them including crows, robins, and blue jays. Other predators are larger snakes, large salamanders, toads, bullfrogs, opossums, skunks, raccoons, fox and more. Even thou this tiny species can’t really protect its self from a predator it will release a foul-smelling musk from its glands if provoked.

Is the eastern worm snake venomous?

The eastern worm snake is not venomous however they will defecate on a predator and emit a pungent foul odor from their anal glands in attempt to ward off predators. Even thou they have no stinging capability this species often gabs predators with its pointy tail. If you pick this snake up it will poke you in the hand with its pointy tail to scare you in to releasing the snake.

What does the eastern worm snake eat?

Like many other small snake species in Montgomery County the eastern worm snake feeds predominantly on earthworms. They will also eat slugs, snails, small lizards and salamanders, soft body insects, grubs, and caterpillars.

What are the habits of the eastern worm snake?

The eastern worm snake is one of the only species of snake in Montgomery County that can borrow into the ground. Of course the soil conditions have to be suitable for a snake to borrow. By moving the head and tip of their tail back and forth they are able to move leaf litter, tree bark, small pebble stones, sandy dirt and loose dirt out of the way. They are also able to burrow through damp or rotted tree stumps. During dry weather they may borrow deep into the earth. They are active during the early morning and in the evening as well as periods through the night.

What are the hibernation habits of the eastern worm snake?

The eastern worm snake starts to hibernate in October and comes out of hibernation in April. They will hibernate in tree logs, tree stumps, underground, under cover in crawl spaces and in the foundation walls of older homes.

What are the reproduction habits of the eastern worm snake?

The eastern worm snake breeds in the spring or fall. Females that breed in the spring (April) when they come out of hibernation will lay eggs between June and July and the young are born in August or September. Females that mate in the fall just before going in to hibernation will lay their eggs in April or May of the next spring and those eggs will hatch in July or August. They lay between 1 and 8 eggs under a rotted log or under rocks. The eggs are whitish and about .63” inches to .93” inches long and .28” inches to .31” inches wide. The hatchlings are about 4” inches long and will be full grown in three to four years.

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