Rough Green Snake

The Rough Green Snake, Opheodrys aestivus, is a non-venomous snake found in North America. It ranges throughout the southeastern United States, from Kansas and Texas east to New Jersey and south to Florida. It is also found in northeastern Mexico. Its preferred habitat is moist meadows and woodlands, often near water. It is highly arboreal, frequently found climbing in low vegetation, and is also a good swimmer. However it is often found on the ground as well.

The Rough Green Snake breeds in spring, and sometimes again in fall. Females lay 3-12 eggs, occasionally in a communal nest shared by more than one female. Up to 75 eggs have been found in one such nest. The nest site varies: under boards, under bark in rotting stumps, in deep mulch, or under a rock. Hatchlings from spring breeding typically emerge in August or September, and are about 7.5 in length.

Its diet consists mostly of insects and other terrestrial arthropods, but some snails and tree frogs are eaten as well. This snake is not a constrictor–most prey are grabbed and simply swallowed alive. The Rough Green Snake is widespread and is not of conservation concern, in general. However urban development, especially the reduction of vegetation near waterways, may reduce their numbers. Many are killed on roads, and they may be susceptible to poisoning by pesticides used on their insect prey.

Photo by Patrick Coin