Worm or Snake?

worn snake
With much vigor, this little creature was desperately trying to cross the pavement next to the Wetlands.

“Is that a worm or a snake?” shouted a Museum guest as she stared down at the ground at a small, slender, brown creature frantically wiggling along the macadam on the north side of the Wetlands.

Standing about thirty feet from the woman I could see the critter, but couldn’t tell exactly what it was. Getting closer, I could see that it was a snake.

I flipped the little snake over to see the pink of its belly to confirm my suspicions and exclaimed, “You’re right on both counts, kind of, it’s a Worm Snake!”

worm snake
The pink belly, which extends to its sides, can be seen here.

Worm Snakes (Carphophis amoenus) get to a length of about 6-7 inches, maxing out at about twelve.

worm snake
Facilities Technician Al Gustafson holds the snake for pictures. That’s Al’s pinky finger, giving you an idea of just how small these little snakes are.

You’re best chances of seeing one of these gentle, harmless snakes is after turning over a log or rock in moist woodlands, or under some debris next to your shed.

Worm Snakes feed on soft bodied invertebrates, mainly earthworms.

7 responses to Worm or Snake?

  1. Pat D says:

    How do you know it is a worm snake and not a baby snake? Like a baby water moccasin for instance?

    • gregdodge says:

      Notice there’s no real separation between head and body, they have a no-neck look to them. Also, the red or pink undersides point to worm snake.

      Young moccasins have a wide-bodied shape, a pattern on their dorsum and, like copperheads, have a yellow-tipped tail.

  2. Tyla Edwards says:

    Lived here for 5 years and never saw them before. Now there seem to be many, not sure why. We have seen them inside and out

  3. Asha Singh Shakya says:

    Hey !!
    Actually we found atleast one worm or may be snake in our bathroom but due to his too small size I could not find out that whether it is snake or worm? As I am too afraid from snakes 😕. But one thing I noticed that worm/ snake is fastly move when we try to touch it with the help of any equipment and also it is alive in water.
    Please reply me as soon as possible because I am to afraid while touching worm/snake and I thought that what happened if worm/snake bites me?
    May be I die😟

    • gregdodge says:

      Take a picture and send it to me.

      Worm snakes are harmless and so are worms, earthworms that is. If you’re that afraid of it, whatever it is, have someone sweep it up in a dust pan, take it outside and let it go.

      Good luck,

  4. larryb says:

    Nice catch Greg, I’ve never seen one out and about. Also enjoyed your use of macadam 🙂

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      Thanks Larry.
      The odd thing is that a man and his young son mentioned to me just 15 minutes earlier that they had seen a small brown snake in the same location. I told them that it was probably a Brown Snake or a Rough Earth Snake. Hopefully they’ll read this and realize that what they saw was a Worm Snake, not something we (people) run into every day. Of course, Brown or Rough Earth Snakes aren’t exactly a daily sight either.
      Have a good one.

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