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A Hillbilly Guide to Snakes: The Rough Green Snake

Updated on July 26, 2012

Opheodrys Aestivus... The Rough Green Snake

Not to be confused with the smooth green snake (No that is not a pun, there is another very similar species called smooth green snakes), the rough green snake is a tree climbing snake found in the United States. The biggest difference between the rough and smooth green snake, is that the rough green snake has little rough ridges going down it's back. The smooth green sneak does not. Outside of that they are very similar snakes and share the common nicknames green grass snake and grass snake.


The rough green snake is a bright lime green color with a yellow or white belly. They can be easily missed in the grass or a green tree.

They are very slender and agile. The adult rough green snake is usually between 22 and 32 inches, but can grow to over 40 inches.

The domain of the rough green snake.
The domain of the rough green snake.


The rough green snake can be found on most of the eastern side of the United States all the way south to Florida and the north east part of Mexico and all the way north up in to New Jersey. They make it as far west as Texas.

Because of it's green color, the rough green snake likes to hang out in trees with bright green leaves. Throughout my life I've personally seen several rough green snakes, and most of them were found in trees. They aren't exclusively tree dwellers as many people think. They can also be found on the ground (particularly in cooler months) and are great swimmers as well.

Photo by Patrick Coin, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
Photo by Patrick Coin, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.


Rough green tree snakes typically eat crickets, spiders, grass hoppers, caterpillars, other bugs, and tree frogs. They are neither venomous nor constrictors, but eat their prey alive.

Interactions with humans

Rough green tree snakes are generally very docile. I can personally tell you that I have walked up to them before and simply picked them up off branches. None of the ones I've ever caught tried to bite or even squirm for that matter. They simply let me pick them up and check them out as if they didn't have a care in the world.

Photo by Patrick Coin, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
Photo by Patrick Coin, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.


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