Rough Greensnake
(Opheodrys aestivus)

Description: The Rough Greensnake is a medium-sized, slender snake and is completely green on their dorsum. They reach adult sizes of 24-25 inches and have a pale, yellowish belly. They possess large eyes and keeled scales. Juveniles closely resemble adults in appearance.

Natural History: This is one of the most aboral snakes in its range and is often found climbing through bushes and tree tops. They are most active during warm days, but their coloration and slow movements make them quite challenging to detect. When detected, they may freeze, stick out their tongue, and sway side to side, resembling a vine moving in the wind. They are probably most frequently encountered crossing roads on warm days, or shining their reflective scales with a light at night.

The majority of their diet is made up of invertebrates such as spiders, caterpillars, dragonflies, and grasshoppers. In turn they are consumed by almost any predator that can find them such as birds, fish, other snakes, lizards, and large spiders. Fully areal predators, such as the Swallow-tailed Kite or Mississippi Kite, will occasionally swoop down and pluck these snakes from the treetops.  

Distribution: The Rough Greensnake is found throughout the Southeastern United States and as far north as Pennsylvania. Their range extends westward to central Texas.

Similar Species: This is the only all green snake found in the Southeastern United States, however it is replaced by the almost identical Smooth Green Snake (Opheodrys vernalis) in the North. In the areas of overlap, the keeled scales on the Rough Green Snake help distinguish from the smooth scaled Smooth Green Snake.

Contributed by Jake Zadik (2/24/2020)