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by Valerie

August, 2009

Rough Green Snake

rough green snake

Even the most ophidiophobic individuals cannot possibly be afraid of the rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus). The color of this lovely little reptile is a stunningly bright green, making it look almost like a plastic toy. Size is usually about two feet in length, and the animal is pencil-thin. They never bite, and even if they did, their mouths are not large enough to do much damage to humans, especially since they are nonpoisonous. The color might seem gaudy, but this snake's preferred habitat is in leafy trees and shrubs with closely growing branches, where they can be almost invisible. They do not match the green (or brown) shades of grass and are instead very arboreal. For a small and vulnerable creature, this is one of the most unwary of snakes. I have watched them hunting (caterpillars, grasshoppers, and katydids) and they seem to soon forget that I am even there. If they feel threatened, they will freeze, relying on their camouflage, and then usually sway slightly to imitate a vine in the wind. As they are not fast moving, they only try escape as a last resort, and are quite easy to catch. Though not often noticed by casual observers, this species is extremely common and I usually encounter several every year.

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