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What is a Worm Snake?

A worm snake is a small, non-venomous reptile, remarkable for its earth-burrowing behavior and slender, elongated body resembling a worm. With smooth scales and a pointed tail, it thrives in the eastern United States, often mistaken for a worm at first glance. Intrigued by nature's mimicry? Discover how the worm snake's unique adaptations benefit its survival in the wild.
Anna T.
Anna T.

A worm snake is a type of snake that closely resembles an earthworm. These snakes are usually brown on top with pink undersides and very smooth scales. Worm snakes may grow to be up to 13 inches (33 cm) in length, although most do not exceed 11 inches (28 cm). These snakes are typically considered small when compared to most other types of snakes. The tail of a worm snake has a very sharp point on the end, which it normally uses to aid in burrowing inside the dirt.

The worm snake is native to the eastern United States and is fairly common, although it is rarely seen by humans. It is not typical to see these snakes out in the open because they tend to prefer burrowing in the dirt, similar to the earthworm they so closely resemble. The worm snake prefers conditions that are moist, which is why burrowing in the dirt is usually favorable to them. These snakes are often found inside gardens because people tend to keep their garden soil moist. When conditions become dry, the worm snake will normally leave in search of another moist location.

Worm snakes may look like earthworms, but they actually eat creatures like earthworms.
Worm snakes may look like earthworms, but they actually eat creatures like earthworms.

Worm snakes usually mate in the fall and lay eggs during late summer. Most of these snakes do not lay more than five eggs at a time, but it is uncommon for there to be less than two eggs. Female worm snakes tend to lay their eggs in inconspicuous places, such as piles of leaves or underneath big rocks. They might also lay eggs inside large pieces of rotted wood, such as stumps or logs. The eggs take roughly a month and a half to two months to hatch. It takes about three years for young worm snakes to reach full sexual maturity.

Most worm snakes eat worms, particularly earthworms. This is probably because they spend so much time in the dirt that worms are the most readily available prey. In addition to worms, worm snakes will also occasionally eat any burrowing insects they come across in the ground. These snakes are not venomous and are not considered to be any threat to humans. If a person catches a worm snake, it normally will not bite, but it may try to pierce a person's hand with the sharp point on its tail. Worm snakes can also produce a very strong, unpleasant odor from their anal glands when threatened.

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Discussion Comments


I saw a worm snake today! I first thought it was a worm because it was in the soil so I couldn't tell. I was actually looking for worms to use as bait, when I picked it up, I realized it's not a worm. I searched for an animal that looks like a worm on the internet and found this article.


@ddljohn-- Well if you look closely, you will be able to tell that it's a snake. It's actually obvious from their shiny coat of skin and the way they lift up their head.

I've seen a worm snake before. I actually picked it up and held it in my hand. I'm not sure if it's the smallest snake out there, but it's probably one of the cutest. I don't know if anyone has every been harmed by this type of snake but I doubt it. It did not harm me at all. It's absolutely harmless and quite vulnerable actually because of its size.


Is the worm snake the smallest snake species?

When I first heard the term worm snake, I though it was referring to a snake that likes to eat worms. I'm actually shocked to hear that there is a snake so small and that too resembling a worm.

I checked out a few pictures, and this snake truly does look like a worm. I'm sure if I actually saw one, I wouldn't even realize that it's a snake.

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    • Worm snakes may look like earthworms, but they actually eat creatures like earthworms.
      By: zest_marina
      Worm snakes may look like earthworms, but they actually eat creatures like earthworms.