Rough Green Snake

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Is the Rough Green Snake right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Keeled Green Snake, Green Grass Snake

Scientific name: Opheodrys aestivus

The basics:
The Rough Green Snake is found from eastern Kansas and Texas to southern New Jersey, down to the Gulf Coast and northeastern Mexico. Its natural habitat is woodlands and moist areas next to a body of water. It is found moving swiftly on the ground, swimming in water, and climbing low vegetation.

Appearance / health:
The Rough Green Snake’s very slim body is leaf-green in color (giving it the ability to “lose” itself among the foliage), with no distinctive markings. Its belly color ranges from white to yellow to yellow-green. It averages 2 to 3 feet in length. The scales are keeled, hence the “rough” reference in its common name.

Behavior / temperament:
The Rough Green Snake is mostly active in the daytime. It is docile and is not particularly afraid of humans. They move fast but can stay very still, hidden among the foliage, when approached. They make good pets because they are very docile and don’t bite.

Rough Green Snakes are best kept in medium-sized vertically oriented woodland-type cages decorated with dense tropical, moisture-loving vegetation that will give the snake some security and much needed humidity. Because the small snakes tend to dehydrate quickly, regular misting is recommended. Substrate should be covered with fallen leaves and dried moss. Good ventilation should be provided because the snakes are sensitive to stale air and drafts. A clean water dish is essential. Day temp: 77-86F; night temp: 59-68F; basking temp: 95F; humidity: 60-70%; lighting: 12-14 hours, partly UV.

Although a favorite in the pet trade, Rough Green Snakes are somewhat difficult to care for. Precise humidity and temperature are required. However, because it feeds on insects rather than rodents, it is preferred by pet keepers who are not comfortable with snakes preying on small mammals.

Unlike most snakes, the Rough Green Snake feeds on insects, spiders, wax worms, and hornworms. Occasionally, it will grab snails and tree frogs. It is not a constrictor; therefore, it swallows its prey alive.

Rough Green Snakes are egg-layers. Females, which lay about 2-14 eggs, sometimes share nests, which could be hidden under a rock, a tree stump, or a patch of mulch. The snakes breed in the spring, and the hatchlings appear in late summer.

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