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.
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.
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.
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