Ribbon Snake Conservation - Least Concern
Scientific Name
Virginia valeriae pulchra
Highland County
Also Called
None Available
Reddish-Brown to Dark-Gray Body, With Black Flecks on Side With a Cream Belly
Earthworms, Small Soft-bodied Insects
Litter Size
2 - 9 Live Young per Birth
Life Span
11 Inches

Quick Links for Mountain Earthsnake

Mountain Earthsnake

Mountain Earthsnake Description

Mountain Earthsnake Appearance

This snake, is uniformly reddish-brown to dark-gray. They often have small specks of black on their sides, and their belly will be uniformly cream or a light yellow. They will also have a black line underneath their eyes.


This snake is normally around 11 inches long, the longest recorded here in Virginia is 12.6 inches long. The largest recorded was 15.5 inches long.

Juveniles tend to be more than 3 – 4.5 inches long.

Mountain Earthsnake in a Bird feeder

This snake is also Virginia’s State Snake.

Mountain Earthsnake Behavior

These Earthsnakes are not aggressive to humans and will not bite even when handled. When threatened this snake will choose to freeze, or try to escape rather than to bite.

These snakes are secretive and solitary. They hide underground and hide under rocks, logs, and other debris. They are diggers and use their pointed snout to dig in the ground to either hide or to search for their favorite prey, earthworms.

It is illegal in Virginia to keep Wild Snakes as pets especially those that are endangered

Range and Habitat of The Mountain Earthsnake


These snakes can only be found in Highland County Virginia. Due to their low numbers, and small range, Virginia has classified them as Critically Endangered in the State of Virginia and Vulnerable for the entire species.

In the rest of the United States, they can be found at the northwestern edge of the Appalachians. They are most common in the Pennsylvania and West Virginia area.


They are found in forested areas. But they are frequently found in short, grassy slopes with sandstone rocks, especially forested areas near water.

Mountain Earthsnake Map Range

They are only seen in Highland County.


Their main diet consists of Earthworms like it’s cousin the Rough Earthsnake. However, they are also willing to eat soft small insects such as grubs, slugs, and snails.

Reproduction and Young


Mating for these snakes likely in the spring and fall and will give birth in the summer or fall to 2 to 9 live young.

Eggs and Young

Earthsnakes do not lay eggs but gives live births. Once the snakelets are born they will be immediately independent, and will be mature in 1.5 years.
Mountain Earthsnake Juvenile

Juveniles will have the same coloration and pattern as adults

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