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Rough Earthsnake

Virginia striatula


Rough earth snakes are nearly identical to western smooth earth snakes (V. valeriae). Both are small, brown/beige, and contrary to what you may have heard (or what would otherwise make sense) you CANT tell the difference by saying "well one is smooth and one is rough..." Yes, rough earth snakes have keeled scales and smooth earth snakes dont, but you can't tell by touch and you can only tell by sight with a magnifier. So. To tell the difference you have to count scales, rough earth snakes have 5 upper labial scales, 1 postocular scale, and 1 scale between the nostrils. I refer you to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Missouri if you want to know more. I caught several of these while working on the Mofep Project.


Missouri Ozarks, forest, leaf-litter.


I know that I'm linking a reference to the MDC website that clearly says you can ID rough earth snakes from smooth ones because the keels make them feel rough, but I'm going to tell you honestly that I've handled many (many) of these snakes, and you can't tell the difference by touch. Its easiest to tell by the postocular scale, its 1 or its 2, there you go, you've got your snake ID'ed.

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Spotted by

Ellington, Missouri, USA

Spotted on Sep 8, 2009
Submitted on Sep 22, 2012

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