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Rough Green Snake  

Opheodrys Aestivus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Opheodrys aestivus, commonly known as the rough green snake, is a nonvenomous North Americancolubrid. It is sometimes called grass snake or green grass snake, but these names are more commonly applied to the smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis). The European colubrid called grass snake (Natrix natrix) is unrelated. The rough green snake is docile, often allowing close approach by humans, and seldom bites. Even when bites occur they have no venom and are harmless.

Rough green snake

Rough green snake

Conservation status






Scientific classification:










Species:O. aestivus

Binomial name

Opheodrys aestivus
(Linnaeus, 1766)

Synonyms :

  • Coluber æstivus Linnaeus, 1766

  • Leptophis æstivus – Bell, 1826

  • Herpetodryas æstivus– Schlegel, 1837

  • Cyclophis æstivus – Günther, 1858

  • Opheodrys æstivus – Cope, 1860

  • Liopeltis æstivus – Jan, 1863

  • Phyllophilophis æstivus– Garman, 1892

  • Contia æstiva – Boulenger, 1894[1]

  • Opheodrys aestivus– Stejneger & Barbour, 1917[2]

Description :


The rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) is bright green above and has a yellowish belly, affording it excellent camouflage in green vegetation. It has keeled dorsal scales, which are arranged in 17 rows at midbody. It grows up to 116 cm (45 3⁄4 in) in total length[3] and is very thin.


Geographic range :


The rough green snake ranges throughout the Southeastern United States, from Florida, north to New Jersey, Indiana, and west to Central Texas. The snake is commonly found in the Piedmont and Atlantic coastal plain, but is not found in the higher elevations of the Appalachian Mountains. It is also found in northeastern Mexico, including the state of Tamaulipas and eastern Nuevo León. The rough green snake, in recent years has also been sighted in western Africa[citation needed]


Habitat :


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. Unlike many snakes, it is largely diurnal.


Diet  :


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.



Climbing over vegetation

Predation :


Predators of the rough green snake include birds and other snakes, such as the eastern racer (Coluber constrictor) and the eastern king snake (Lampropeltis getula).

Reproduction :


The rough green snake breeds in spring, and sometimes again in fall. 


Females lay 2-14 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 18–20 cm (7.1–7.9 in) in total length.


Conservation status :


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. When dead, they turn blue. They are also one of the most exploited pet snakes in North America. O. aestivus are collected by the hundreds each year and wholesale for around eight dollars in U.S. currency making it a very accessible species to pet shops and later to the pet owner.


Subspecies :


-Northern rough green snake, Opheodrys aestivus aestivus (Linnaeus, 1766)

-Florida rough green snake, Opheodrys aestivus carinatus Grobman, 1984

Rough Green Snake- (Opheodrys aestivus)

Videos : 

Rough Green Snake

Rough Green Snake Care Sheet


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Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus)

Availability :


The rough green snake is readily available in the pet trade and unfortunately is one of the most exploited snakes in North America. rough green snakes are collected by the hundreds each year and wholesale for around eight dollars in U.S. currency making it a very accessible species to pet shops and later to the pet owner. The rough green snake is a species of snake which stresses easily and often fails to thrive after the long journey from nature to pet keeper. In the wild rough green snakes are often collected in large numbers where they occupy areas of wetlands such as marshes, ponds and lakes which border woodland habitat. The rough green snakes move slowly and deliberately through the vines and bushes stalking its invertebrate and small amphibian prey and often mimic the movement of branches swaying in the breeze. This behavior helps the rough green snake become totally one with its surroundings and enables it to be a stealthier predator but still does not protect it against the perils of the pet trade.

Size :


The rough green snake is quite large compared to its smaller cousin the smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis) and reaches lengths of 3 feet or better on average but rarely exceeding lengths of forty six inches. Females tend to have a longer and larger body than the males and both genders are brightly colored dorsally in emerald green with a brilliant yellowish wash along the sides and towards the ventral scales and the belly of the rough greensnake is yellowish white in color.


Life Span :


The rough green snake can live upwards of 15 years when cared for properly in captivity and can provide its keeper with great enjoyment over this time period.


Housing and substrate:


The rough green snake should be given a large spacious enclosure to accommodate its relatively large size and arboreal activity. A fifty five to seventy five gallon tank is suitable for two adults and this enclosure should be heavily adorned with live or artificial plants for climbing and hiding which will make the rough green snake feel comfortable while being able to utilize its brilliant camouflage. Substrate in the enclosure should be in the form of small stone or gravel; this will enable easy cleaning and reduce the risk of harmful external parasites such as snake mites. Dry feces is easily visible on the gravel and should be removed at once.


Temperature and Lighting  :


Rough green snakes are most comfortable when kept within the range of 85 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit and should have a basking light over their enclosure that will enable the snakes to thermoregulate. It is beneficial for the rough green snake to have full spectrum lighting as this will not only enhance the captive environment and your captive’s natural colors, but it will benefit the snake in its quality of life by balancing the snakes’ psychological well-being.


Food and water  :


Food should be offered in the form of soft-bodied invertebrates such as crickets, spiders, moths, caterpillars and soft-bodied beetle larvae. rough green snakes are also known to take some vertebrate prey such as tree frogs and likely small lizards. Fresh drinking water should be available to your rough green snakes at all times and the captive environment should be gently misted at least once a week to maintain adequate humidity. It is important not to overwhelm your rough green snake with too many live feeders. Too many feeders contradicts what these snakes are used to in nature and it will have the opposite effect often stressing your snake to the point of not feeding at all.


Handling and Temperament


Opheodrys aestivus is a very non-aggressive species of snake and rarely if ever even attempts to bite in captivity. It is however important to keep handling of your captive rough green snake to a minimum because they tend to stress very easily when out of the safety of their enclosure and its dense protective foliage. Remember rough green snakes are designed to be tangled among the leaves and twigs of their natural environment and they know they are invisible there; bringing them out into the open can have very traumatic effects on this species of snake. If you must handle your rough green snake, handle it securely and close to your body, without letting it hang loosely from your hands.




Leo Spinner is owner of The Spotted turtle Herpetological Institute of Cape-Cod and is owner of Skin & Scales Exotic Animal Presentations He has over forty years of herpetological experience and divides his time between Cape-Cod and Pennsylvania. Leo Spinner resides on Cape-Cod in Massachusetts with his family.



Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus)


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Description: Rough Green Snakes are fairly long – to 32 in (81 cm) – slender, bright green snakes with yellow or whitish bellies that spend much of their time climbing in vegetation. Their bright green color easily distinguishes them from all other snakes in Georgia and South Carolina but the similar Smooth Green Snake replaces this species in the Appalachian Mountains and the Northeast. Rough Green Snakes have keeled scales and large eyes. After death the color of green snakes fades to blue or black and dead individuals may resemble small black racers. Young Green Snakes resemble adults.


Range and Habitat: Rough Green Snakes are found throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast from the Pine Barrens of New Jersey west to central Texas and south throughout Florida. They are common in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain but are absent from the higher elevations of the mountains.


Rough green snakes can be found in a variety of habitats but are most common in open forests and edge habitats. They can be particularly abundant along the margins of wetlands and rivers, where they search overhanging vegetation for insects.


Habits: Rough Green Snakes are probably the most arboreal snakes in our region and spend the majority of their time hunting for insects, spiders, and other invertebrates in vegetation well above the ground. When encountered, green snakes often freeze, relying on their green coloration for camouflage. At night, Green Snakes can often be found sleeping coiled in shrubs, vine tangles, or thick vegetation. During cool weather Green Snakes often take refuge on the ground and can sometimes be found hiding beneath logs, rocks, or debris. They mate in the spring and females lay 3 – 12 eggs in the early summer.



Conservation Status: Rough Green Snakes are generally common in our region and are not protected throughout most of it. They are protected throughout the state of Georgia. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this species may be declining in some areas, particularly southern Florida.


Pertinent References:

Plummer, M. V. 1997. Population ecology of green snakes (Opheodrys aestivus) revisited. Herpetological Monographs 11:102-123.

Account Author: J.D. Willson


Viedos on  Rough Green Snakes care  :



Rough green snake, Tutorial / Set Up

Rough Green Snake Care

Rough green snake care

Rough Green Snake Hatching

Rough Green Snake Care

Further reading : 

Many   books you can find in the  Internet based libraries and bookshops like ( Click Here ) ..


But first look for the best prices at Book 

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