Rough Green Snake

Opheodrys aestivus aestivus

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Habitat

    Leafy trees, shrubs and vines, often near water. Prefers lush, thickly vegetated areas, including moist woods, streamside forests and backyard gardens. Hibernates during winter.

  • Range

    Found throughout the Chesapeake Bay region’s coastal plain, though they may range farther inland.

  • Diet

    Feeds on insects; will also eat snails, spiders and small frogs

  • Lifespan

    Average 5 years; up to 8 years

  • Status

    Stable

The rough green snake is a non-venomous snake with a long, slender, bright green body. It lives in leafy trees and shrubs in thickly vegetated areas throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.

Appearance

Rough green snakes grow to 22 to 32 inches in length, with a long, slender, bright green body covered with rough-looking scales and a white, cream or yellow belly.

Feeding

Rough green snakes feed primarily on insects such as crickets, caterpillars and grasshoppers, though they will also eat snails, spiders and small frogs. They use their excellent vision to find and track down prey.

Predators

Birds, larger snakes and domestic cats all prey upon rough green snakes. They are well camouflaged in dense vegetation, where they hide from predators.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Females lay 2 to 12 eggs in a tree hollow in June or July. Several females will often share a nest. Eggs hatch in August and September, yielding baby snakes that are 7 to 8 inches long. These snakes usually live up to five years, but can live up to eight years.

Did You Know?

  • This snake gets its name from the rough-looking scales that cover its green body.
  • It is the only tree-dwelling snake in the Bay region.
  • Rough green snakes are docile and do not bite.
  • Although rough green snakes usually live in trees, they are also very good swimmers.
  • Unlike most snakes, rough green snakes are diurnal, meaning they are most active during the day.

Sources and Additional Information

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Habitat

    Leafy trees, shrubs and vines, often near water. Prefers lush, thickly vegetated areas, including moist woods, streamside forests and backyard gardens. Hibernates during winter.

  • Range

    Found throughout the Chesapeake Bay region’s coastal plain, though they may range farther inland.

  • Diet

    Feeds on insects; will also eat snails, spiders and small frogs

  • Lifespan

    Average 5 years; up to 8 years

  • Status

    Stable