General InformationRough Earth Snakes are small snakes found in the central area of the United States, with some populations reaching into the southwest. In the areas where they are found, they are a common species. However, one usually does not see them unless they are flipping rocks and grass looking for them as they are a secretive serpent. Their frequent habitats are anywhere where there are rocks, wood, pieces of metal, concrete, or other heat-attracting substances, soft-bodied insect larvae, and cover in some form, ideally grass, dead leaves, or other foliage. Often, they can be found in man-made areas including trash dumps, under decks, on sidewalks, and...in my backyard.
Rough Earth Snakes in captivityIn my backyard, we have a very large, thriving population of Rough Earth Snakes that has been there since we moved in, and probably longer. Often, they are found under rocks and grass when mowing or edging. When my mom discovered two healthy, full-grown individuals hiding under the grass near the sidewalk, I had the opportunity to keep them inside for approximately a week. As soon as they came in, I sketched their appearances and some other information about them.
|My scanned sketches of the two Rough Earth Snake specimens. Click on the images to enlarge.|
ConclusionRough Earth Snakes can be kept in captivity successfully with little effort. If they were bred in captivity, I can see them as a good addition to the pet trade. Even when wild-caught they are fairly docile. Their only threat displays that I have seen are freezing and secreting feces onto a predator or human. However, a captive-bred specimen could easily be an easy to keep pet snake. They require minimal space and could be kept in a small apartment. They have the same appeal as a Kenyan sand boa, but unlike the boa, can be kept at room temperature in most of the US and do not require rodents. If they were to bite a human, they could not hold a grip on any body part. For that reason, they could be a good first pet for children. So, if you are blessed with being in an area of the States that has Rough Earth Snakes, I encourage you to bring them in for short periods of time and record your findings.
Trauth, Stanley, Robinson, Henry, Plummer, Michael. "The Amphibians And Reptiles of Arkansas" The University of Arkansas Press. 2004.
Powell, Robert, Collins, Joseph, Fish, Lee. "Virginia striatula (Linnaeus) Rough Earth Snake" Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. 1994.
Niemiller, Matthew, Reynolds, Graham, Miller, Brian. "The Reptiles of Tennessee" The University of Tennessee Press. 2013.
|Shed skins from both specimens, labeled and bagged.|