Physical description Edit
Worm snakes are small snakes, 35 cm (14 in.) or less in total length. They are usually a dark brown in color, with a lighter colored, pink or orange underside. They are easily mistaken for other similar species, such as the earth snakes (Virginia sp.) and the brown snakes (Storeria sp.). They have a narrow head, small eyes, and a sharp tail tip. They are not venomous.
Worm snakes are fossorial snakes, and spend the vast majority of their time buried in loose, rocky soil, or under forest leaf litter. They are abundant within their range, but rarely seen due to their secretive nature.
Little is known about their mating habits, but breeding likely occurs in early spring. The eggs are laid in early summer. Clutch size is normally 2-5 eggs, and hatching takes place in August or September. Hatchlings range in size from 7 to 12 cm.
Worm snake diet consists almost entirely of earthworms but they will also consume other soft bodied insects.
Species and subspecies Edit
- Carphophis amoenus
- Western worm snake, Carphophis vermis (Kennicott, 1859)
Geographic distribution Edit
- C. amoenus - Arkansas, eastern Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, northern Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, southern Ohio, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, southeastern New York, and Connecticut.
- C. vermis - southern Iowa, southeastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, western Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana, eastern Oklahoma, and northeastern Texas with isolated records from southwestern Wisconsin, and southeastern Arkansas.
- Illinois Natural History Survey - Carphophis amoenus
- Western Worm Snake, Carphophis vermis photographs
- Western Worm Snake - Carphophis vermis Species account from the Iowa Reptile and Amphibian Field Guide