Opheodrys Aestivus – Rough Green Snake

Opheodrys Aestivus - Rough Green Snake information

The rough green snake is a medium-sized green nonvenomous snake found in the Southeastern United States and in Mexico. It is often confused with the similar-looking and closely related smooth green snake.


The upper body of the rough green snake is bright green and does not have any other color patterns or markings. The belly of the snake is yellow. The yellow color is usually seen on the sides even if the snake is on the ground. The dorsal scales of the rough earth snake are keeled. Without a close look at the scales, the snake can be confused with the related smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis). Generally, rough earth snakes don’t have a shiny appearance since the light is not reflected as well on their keeles scales. Also, rough green snakes can become twice as long as smooth green snakes.

Opheodrys Aestivus - Rough Green Snake information
A close look at the scales shows that they are keeled (you can see som longitudinal lines along the middle of the dorsal scales. Photo: jonnx12


Adult rough green snakes can reach a length of 20-40 inches (50-100 cm). The longest ever recorded specimen was almost 46 inches (116 cm) long. The snakes are very long and thin.

Rough Green Snake in South Carolina on ground adult and long green snake
The long and thin rough green snake. Photo: Hunter Desportes

Hunting Behavior and Habitat

The rough green snake is mainly found in wet meadows, grasslands and forest clearings. Mostly close to freshwater streams or lakes. Its body coloration is perfectly adapted to camouflage the snake in grass. It feeds mostly on crickets, grasshoppers, larvae, spiders and caterpillars. Occasionally, they are seen eating snails or small frogs. This animal is a diurnal snake (active throughout the day), which is quite rare for snakes. It is also often seen climbing in trees looking for sun and small prey animals.

Opheodrys Aestivus - Rough Green Snake climbing on tree
A great climber: A rough green snake in Maryland. Photo: Matt Tillett

Bite and Defense

The smooth green snake is a docile nonvenomous snake. It’s first instinct when a threat appears is to feel. The snake is hesitant to bite, even if its handled. In the rare cases, where the snake would bite a human or a larger pet, the bite is completely harmless.

Rough green snake range in the USA

In the United States, the rough green snake can be found in the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Subspecies of Opheodrys aestivus and their common name

  • Opheodrys aestivus aestivus – Northern rough green snake
  • Opheodrys aestivus carinatus – Florida rough green snake

Scientific classification of Opheodrys aestivus

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Serpentes
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Opheodrys
  • Species: Opheodrys aestivus
Opheodrys Aestivus – Rough Green Snake

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 15 MB. You can upload: image. Drop file here

Scroll to top