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smooth earthsnake

smooth earthsnake (Virginia valeriae)
Photo © Brad M. Glorioso

Features and Behaviors

The smooth earthsnake averages seven to 10 inches in length. It has a gray or red-brown back with no markings and a white or yellow belly. The scales are smooth or weakly keeled (ridged).

The smooth earthsnake may be found in the southern one-third of Illinois. It lives in moist, wooded hillsides and abandoned fields where it generally hides under rocks. The smooth earthsnake stays underground for long periods of time, coming out after heavy rains. It is active mainly at night. Mating occurs in May or June. Two to 14 young are born to the female in August or September. This snake eats earthworms, slugs and soft-bodied insects.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Natricidae

Illinois Status: common, native