Eastern Wormsnake

Eastern Wormsnake by Gene Ott of snakesandfrogs.com (by permission)

Eastern Wormsnakes are very small snakes. They have glossy brown or gray bodies and pink translucent bellies, and can resemble earthworms. Their heads are small and flat, their eyes tiny and their tails stubby. The stubby tail has a sharp tip. They can be 7 to 14 inches long.

Eastern wormsnakes are just entering New England and are a more southern species. They range from southeastern New York and southern New England southwards through South Carolina and northern Georgia, and westwards into southern Ohio, eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee and north-central Alabama. In Connecticut they inhabit all of the state in low-lying regions except for the extreme northwestern corner.

Wormsnakes are burrowing snakes. They live in well-drained soil usually near deciduous forests. They are sometimes found in gardens.

These snakes breed in May. Females lay 2 to 6 eggs in June or July under leaf litter or other vegetation. The eggs hatch in August or September. The mothers do not care for their eggs or young.

Eastern wormsnakes are nocturnal and secretive. They hibernate underground in the winter. They are rarely seen above ground and stay under rocks and logs and under leaf litter. They use the sharp tip of their tail as an aid in burrowing.

The eastern wormsnake's primary prey are earthworms.

These small snakes rarely bite. If handled they try to "burrow" between the fingers and may use their head or their tail. The sharp tail can prick skin, leading some to mistakenly believe the snake has a stinger. It just wants to get back underground. It may produce musk.

Eastern wormsnakes are sometimes confused with redbelly snakes.