Rough Green Snakes Care, Size, Habitat, Lifespan and Housing

Rough Green Snakes Care, Size, Habitat, Lifespan and Housing

All You Need To Know About Rough Green Snakes Care:

Rough green snake (common name), also known as Opheodrys aestivus is a nonvenomous North American colubrid. Sometimes it is called green grass snake or simply grass snake. However, these types of names are generally applied to the smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis). 


The European colubrid species known as grass snake (Natrix natrix) is different and not related. The rough green snake species is docile. They often permit the nearest approach by humans, and after that seldom bite. Even after the occurrence of a bite, there is no venom and are totally harmless.


Rough Green Snake Care Opheodrys aestivus
Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus)


Quick Facts

Species

Native (O. aestivus)

Size

22 to 32 inches in length

Habitat

The rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) lives among vines and shrubs, leafy trees, often near water. It likes  thickly vegetated, lush areas, including backyard gardens, streamside forest, and moist woods. Like any other species of snakes, the rough green snakes are diurnal which means these snakes are highly active during the day. Again, during the cold winter months they hibernate .

Lifespan 

Up to 15 years when cared for properly in captivity

Status

Stable

Kingdom:

 Animalia

Family: 

Colubridae

Phylum:

Chordata

Genus

Opheodrys

Order

Squamata

Ideal temperature

Between 85 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit


Rough green snake (common name), also known as Opheodrys aestivus is a nonvenomous North American colubrid. Sometimes it is called green grass snake or simply grass snake. However, these types of names are generally applied to the smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis). 


The European colubrid species known as grass snake (Natrix natrix) is different and not related. The rough green snake species is docile. They often permit the nearest approach by humans, and after that seldom bite. Even after the occurrence of a bite, there is no venom and are totally harmless.


Overview

The Rough green snake often fails to thrive after the long journey from nature to pet keeper and they stress easily. Often in the wild environment, rough green snakes are collected in huge quantities where they capture areas of wetlands such as lakes and ponds, marshes, which provide border woodland habitat.

Unfortunately, in North America, the rough green snake is one of the most exploited snakes. They are readily available in the trade of pets. These snakes are collected by hundreds every year and offered in the wholesale market for around eight U.S dollars making rough green snakes a very accessible species to pet stores and finally handed over to the pet owner.


They move deliberately and slowly through the bushes and vines stalking its invertebrate and little amphibian prey and rough green snakes also mimic the movement of branches often swaying in the breeze. This behavior enables them to be a stealthier predator and helps them become a complete one with their surroundings, however still does not safeguard it against the perils of the trade of pets.


The species' rough green snake ranges throughout the entire Southeastern United States, from Florida, west to Central Texas, north to coastal Maine, and Indiana. Usually, the snake is found in the Atlantic coastal plain and Piedmont, but this species is not available in the higher elevations of the Appalachian Mountains. Also, it can be found in northeastern Mexico, including the eastern Nuevo León and state of Tamaulipas.


Appearance


Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus) Care


Opheodrys aestivus or the rough green snake has a yellowish belly and is bright green above, affording it perfect camouflage in green vegetation which makes it almost difficult to mark them in the wild even though this species is common in their habitat. 


The rough green snakes have keeled dorsal scales. These are arranged in 17 rows at their mid-body. This snake is very thin and grows up to 116 cm (45+34 in) in total length including its tail.


Size

A rough green snake is relatively large enough than its smaller cousin the smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis). They reach lengths of 3 feet on average. However, this species rarely exceeds lengths of 46 inches. 

Females have a larger and longer body as compared to males.  The belly color of the rough green snake is yellowish-white.

Both males and females are brightly colored dorsally in emerald green with an excellent combination of yellowish wash on both the sides and towards ventral scales.

Life Span

The normal lifespan of a rough green snake is 8 years. However, they can live upwards of 15 years when properly cared for in captivity. It can give its owner great satisfaction over this time period. Proper husbandry techniques, snake supplies, and snake habitat items or products will promote this species to thrive in captivity.


Habitat and Behaviour

The preferred habitat of the rough green snake (O. aestivus) is woodlands and moist meadows, often near water. It is a good swimmer, frequently found climbing in low vegetation, and is also highly arboreal. But, it is found often on the ground as well. Like many other snake species, it is massively diurnal.


Housing and Substrate

A large spacious enclosure should be given to your rough green snake to accommodate its relatively large body size and arboreal activity. A 55 - 75 gallon tank is good for a couple. This enclosure must be heavily adorned with artificial or live plants for hiding and climbing. It will make your rough green snake feel highly comfortable while being able to utilize its amazing camouflage. 

The enclosure’s substrate should be in the form of small gravel or stone, for example, the Exo Terra Small Natural River Pebbles. It will help minimize the risk of dangerous external parasites like snake mites and also enable easy cleaning. Dry feces are clearly visible on the enclosure’s gravel. It should be removed at once.

Reptile Lighting & Heating

Rough green snakes are kept within the range of 85 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit they feel most comfortable. You should provide your reptile a basking light over their enclosure which will help your snakes to thermoregulate. It is extremely helpful for your rough green snake to have full benefits of spectrum lighting, given by snake heat lamps like the Exo Terra Solar Glo All in One Reptile Lamp

It will not only benefit your captive’s natural colors and captive environment, but also it will enhance your snake's quality of life by keeping your snakes’ psychological well-being balanced.

Food and water

The food habit of Rough Green Snakes mostly consists of insects, various terrestrial arthropods, and also some tree frogs and snails are eaten as well. This species is not a constrictor; they grabbed most of the prey and swallowed them alive.

The diet of O. aestivus should be given in the form of soft-bodied invertebrates such as caterpillars, crickets, soft-bodied beetle larvae, moths, and spiders. 

Rough green snakes also take various vertebrate prey such as small lizards, tree frogs etc proving they do fancy live reptile diets at times. You should provide fresh drinking water to your rough green snakes at all times. Their captive environment should be gently misted every week to keep sufficient humidity. 

Never overwhelm the rough green snake with a lot of live feeders. Excessive feeders can contradict what these species are used to in the natural environment and it will have an adverse effect, often stressing the Rough Green Snakes to the point of not feeding at all.

Predators

Domestic cats, larger snakes, large spiders, and even some birds prey upon the rough green snakes. They are relatively defenseless and do not bite. But, in dense vegetation, they are well camouflaged, where this species hides from predators.


Handling and Temperament


Rough Green Snakes Care, Handling and Temperament
Rough Green Snakes Care, Handling, and Temperament


Opheodrys aestivus rarely if ever even tries to bite in a captive environment and is a very non-aggressive snake species. This species tends to stress very quickly when out of the safety of the tank or enclosure and it has dense protective foliage. However, it's necessary to keep handling the captive rough green snake to a very minimum. 

The rough green snakes are born to be tangled among the twigs of their natural environment and green leaves. It knows that they are invisible there; bringing them out from the enclosure into the open environment can have very traumatic effects on this snake. If handling your rough green snake is a must, then handle it carefully and securely and keep it close to your body, without letting them hang loosely from your hands.

Reproduction

The breeding of rough green snakes emerges in spring, and again sometimes in fall. The female rough greens lay 2 to 14 eggs, occasionally in a communal nest that is shared by multiple females. In one such nest, up to 75 eggs have been found. 

The nest site differs: under a rock, in deep mulch, under bark in rotting stumps, or under boards. Generally, hatchlings from spring breeding occur in the month of August or September, also each is almost 18 to 20 cm (7.1 to 7.9 in) in actual length.

Subspecies

  • Opheodrys aestivus (Linnaeus, 1766) – Northern Rough Green Snake

  • Opheodrys aestivus Grobman, 1984 – Florida Rough Green Snake


Status of Conservation

In general, rough green snakes are not of conservation concern and it is widespread. But, urban development, particularly the decrease of vegetation beside waterways (streams, rivers, etc.), may decrease the snake’s numbers. 

A lot of rough greens are killed on roads while crossing the road, also they might be susceptible to poisoning by high use of pesticides on their insect prey or other food. 

They turn blue after their death. Also, this species is one of the highly exploited pet snakes in the North American region. O. aestivus are collected by the thousands every year for around eight dollars in the United States currency and sold in the wholesale market making it a very accessible snake species to pet stores and later to the pet keeper.

Did You Know?

  • Usually, rough green snakes live in trees. However, they are also excellent swimmers.

  • In the Bay region, it is the only tree-dwelling snake species.

  • do not bite and are docile.

  • Rough green snakes get their name from the rough-looking scales which cover their green body.