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Rough Earth Snake


Haldea striatula (formerly Virginia striatula)




Size: Among the smallest of Texas serpents, adult rough earth snakes are generally 7 – 10 inches in length.


Description: Uniformly olive-brown, reddish brown, dark gray, or nearly black with cone-shaped head.


This small rough earth snake is near several snail shells for scale.
Photo by Maggie Dwyer


Habitat: Any region with damp soil, pine woods, hardwood forest, sparsely wooded rocky hillsides, swamp edge, and grasslands. It usually avoids desert or semi desert habitats.


Behavior: Rough earth snakes have never been known to bite. When disturbed they will stay motionless, and if that doesn't work, will quickly move out of the way. They stay slightly under the soil surface 


Feeding: The diet of such a small snake consists largely of invertebrate prey. Feeds almost exclusively on earthworms, though ant larvae may also be taken. The pointed snout facilitates burrowing in the moist soil where its prey is found. Earthworms were found in the sampled stomachs along with a wider range of menu items that includes slugs, snails, sow bugs, insects, small frogs and small lizards, particularly the abundant little ground skinks. Insect eggs and larvae may be eaten as well.


Notes: There are no snake repellents. Some suggested novice tips are the use of vibration devices, hot pepper, or mustard. Non-venomous snakes are usually beneficial; these snakes are harmless. In the early spring groups of these snakes can be found balled up together up in small spaces (think the holes in bricks that might be in the garden). More information at iNaturalist.





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