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Rough Green Snake

Opheodrys aestivus aestivus

The rough green snake has a long, slender, bright green body and a white, cream or yellow belly. (Richard Crook/Flickr)
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The rough green snake has a long, slender, bright green body and a white, cream or yellow belly. (Richard Crook/Flickr)

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:

  • Long, slender, bright green body covered with rough-looking scales
  • White, cream or yellow belly
  • Grows 22-32 inches long

Habitat:

  • Lives in leafy trees, shrubs and vines, often near water
  • Prefers lush, thickly vegetated areas, including moist woods, streamside forests and backyard gardens
  • Unlike most snakes, rough green snakes are diurnal, meaning they are most active during the day
  • Hibernates during winter

Range:

  • Found throughout the Chesapeake Bay region’s coastal plain
  • May range farther inland

Feeding:

  • Feeds primarily on insects such as crickets, caterpillars and grasshoppers
  • Will also eat snails, spiders and small frogs
  • Uses its excellent vision to find and track down prey

Predators:

  • Birds, larger snakes and domestic cats all prey upon rough green snakes
  • Hides from predators within dense vegetation, where it is well camouflaged

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Females lay 2-12 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 7-8 inches long
  • Usually lives up to five years, but can live up to eight years

Other Facts:

  • Gets its name from the rough-looking scales that cover its green body
  • 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.

Sources and Additional Information:


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