Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Squamata     suborder Serpentes
Carphophis amoenus -- Eastern Wormsnake

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photo of Carphophis amoenus, Alexander County, IL; photo by Mike Redmer

Purple shade indicates vouchered specimens. Light blue (cyan) shade indicates photographic records. Yellow shade indicates verified sighting. Slanted hatch indicates pre-1980 records only

NOTE: Not all specimens upon which these maps are based have been verified.

Key Characters: Pointed head; spine-like tail tip; smooth dorsal scales; divided anal plate.

Similar Species: Smooth earth snake, brown snake, redbelly snake.

Subspecies: Midwest worm snake, C. a. helenae; western worm snake, C. a. vermis.

Description: A small (up to 35 cm TL) wormlike burrowing snake with a brown back and pink belly. The pink color extends onto the first scale row. The two colors are more sharply contrasting in juveniles.

Habitat: Wooded areas, usually those with rocky soils.

Natural History: Most mating probably occurs in the fall with eggs laid the following June. Clutch size is normally 2-5 eggs and hatching takes place in August or September. Hatchlings range in size from 7 to 12 cm TL. Worm snakes feed almost entirely on earthworms. The main predators are other snakes.

Status: Locally abundant.


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