The smooth earth snake (Virginia valeriae) is a species of nonvenomous colubrid snake native to the eastern half of the United States, from Texas and Iowa to New Jersey and Florida. It is a small, fossorial species which spends most of its time buried in loose soil or leaf litter, and eats primarily earthworms and other soft-bodied arthropods. The epithet valeriae is in honor of Valeria Biddle Blaney, who collected the first specimen in Kent County, Maryland, and was a first cousin of Spencer Fullerton Baird.
Given their lack of sufficient defense mechanisms against larger animals, earth snakes are generally not aggressive towards humans and are harmless if encountered. While they do have teeth, the size of the mouth and teeth make any strikes against humans superficial at worst. They can defecate as a defense mechanism to make them less palatable to would-be predators. If necessary, they can be safely picked up by hand and relocated.
Some sources list two subspecies of Virginia valeriae:
- Western earth snake, Virginia valeriae elegans (Kennicott, 1859)
- Eastern earth snake, Virginia valeriae valeriae (Baird & Girard, 1853)