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Rough Green Snake

Family: Colubridae Picture of Rough Green SnakeOpheodrys aestivusPhoto © Animal-World Courtesy David Brough
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iam getting one next week and need more advice about correct setup please  Jill Loughton

   The beautiful Rough Green Snake is not only lovely to look at, but is so very gentle that it is a pleasure to handle!

   The Rough Green Snake is and excellent climbers and very agile, but they are also quite wiggly. They never display a bad temper and rarely if ever, attempt to bite. Despite their pleasant temperment they are a more difficult snake to maintain in captivity, and are suggested for a more advanced snake keeper.

For more Information on keeping Snakes see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Herptile


Geographic Distribution
Opheodrys aestivus
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Data provided by GBIF.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Opheodrys
  • Species: aestivus

Distribution:    The Rough Green Snakes are found in North America. Specifically they are found in the eastern part of the United States; Connecticut to Florida, the Gulf States, and the Mississippi Valley to Kansas, Illinois and Ohio.

Description:   The Rough Green Snake is slender with keeled scales and a very long tail that tapers sharply to a pointed tip. They can reach up to 28" (71 cm). Void of patterning, this snake's coloring is iridescent leaf green on top with whitish to yellow to yellowish green underneath.

Feeding:   They should be feed live insects once or twice a week. Good insects to feed are crickets and moths. Soft-bodied insect larvae such as waxworms, butterworms, and mealworms are also good choices. Fresh water in a shallow dish should always be available.

Environment:   The rough green snake is an excellent climber and likes an arboreal type setting, so a vertical or semi-vertical tree limb with plant vining is great. The terrarium should be at least a 10"x14"x10". See Basic Reptile and Amphibian Care for more information.

Temperature and Lighting requirements:    They do well in 70° to 80° F with moderate humidity. Lighting requirements are minimal, they do not need full spectrum lighting though it is good for long term maintenance as it helps them feel good. You can use a substrate heating device for basic heating. For additional heat, you can add a full spectrum incandescent daytime bulb and a blacklight bulb or red incandescent bulb for nighttime heating. Be sure you use a thermometer so you don't let the terrarium become overheated!
   For more detailed information see the Basic Reptile and Amphibian Care: Housing.

Breeding/Reproduction:    These snakes lay four to twelve very elongated eggs. They will be deposited under a flat stone or a log, usually at the edge of the woods, where it meets a meadow. The young can be a grayish green to a pale delicate green at first, becoming the beautiful iridescent leaf green as they mature.

Availability:   Though the Rough Green Snake is generally available, they can be difficult to maintain in captivity. This is thought to be because we don't fully understand their natural diet. A variety of foods is probably best.

Author: Clarice Brough, CRS
Lastest Animal Stories on Rough Green Snake

Jill Loughton - 2013-01-31
iam getting one next week and need more advice about correct setup please

  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-02-01
    These snakes like to climb so have planty of branches for them to climb.  There is a variety of substrates that you can use for these snakes.  Make sure to all ways have water available. 

    They do well in 70° to 80° F with moderate humidity. Lighting requirements are minimal, they do not need full spectrum lighting though it is good for long term maintenance as it helps them feel good. You can use a substrate heating device for basic heating. For additional heat, you can add a full spectrum incandescent daytime bulb and a blacklight bulb or red incandescent bulb for nighttime heating. Be sure you use a thermometer so you don't let the terrarium become overheated!
  • Jill Loughton - 2013-02-03
    Thank you.
Reply
donna - 2010-01-17
These little snakes are going to be wild caught, and VERY heavily parasitized--to have a chance of keeping one alive for more than a short time, you will need to have it treated for parasites immediately. If you catch one yourself, this is the very first thing you should do once you have it eating for you--take the snake to a vet for a checkup, along with a fresh fecal sample, and have it deparasitized. Be sure to take it to an experience reptile vet--you don't want someone who will just shoot it up with ivomec and send it home. A proper course of fenbendazole and possibly metronidazole will most likely be what is used.

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Dave Snyder - 2009-11-14
I teach 6th Grade Science in Virginia. I'm the sponser of the very popular "Snake Club" that meets every other week at the end of the day on Wednesdays. I thought Rough Green Snakes would be a good addition/replacement for what I already had. Boy was I right! I love these little guys and the kids do too. They are very active and for the most part are agreeable to being held. I ordered 2 yearlings and 2 hatchlings from Don Scolara in Florida. He sent me great ones and threw in an adult as a bonus. I've had them now for about 2 months. Unfortunately the two babies just died. I'm going to learn as much as I can so that when the female yearling that I have lays eggs next year (I hope), I will know better about keeping them alive. In the last two months, I have been tweaking their cage environment and find that they like 20-50% humidity and 70-90 degrees in Temperature. They eat crickets but they should be small crickets b/c they can't digest hard exoskeletons. My big one ate a huge spider. They also ate moths. The more soft-bodied insects we can get them to eat, the better. They do well on a varied diet from what I have read. If you feed them crickets than gut-load them by feeding them cricket food and collard greens and carrots. I too am shocked that these aren't more popular in the pet trade.

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PETE 03-2007 - 2007-03-11
For anyone wondering how to feed an RGS, I have a couple of suggestions. Whenever it comes to feeding time with my snake, I make sure to put about 2 dozen smallish crickets directly in the tank with him. I never try to hand feed him because RGS' tend to be quite timid and high strung. By putting plenty of crickets in the tank the snake can eat at their leisure. Another trick I have learned about feeding is to sometimes give them meal worms. These are small and easy for an RGS to swallow since their necks are so slender. Make sure to mist your tank a few times daily for humidity and water. These snakes do not always like to drink water from a bowl. I know that mine does not. By misting the tank the snake can drink off leaves or vines in the tank. The added moisture in the tank will also help your snake shed when the time comes. Do not let your tank become too moist because these snakes can get skin disorders and respiratory illnesses easily and do not often recover from them.

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Dave Snyder - 2009-11-15
It was good to hear of someone else who appreciates these beauties (Riana)! I've got 3 now. I have them in a large cage in my classroom (I teach 6th Grade Science). The kids absolutely love them as do I. From researching them, I've found that many die prematurely due to their diet and/or not having the enough humidity. I've only had mine for two months and I am trying as much as possible to vary their diet. However, crickets are the most readily available. But from what I understand it is best to feed them younger crickets with a soft/or no exoskeleton and to gut-load them with a mix of cricket food,collard greens and carrots. Please share any info you have too so we all have a better chance of keeping these guys alive.

Reply
sondra blanks - 2008-07-18
My husband brought home a RGS about two weeks ago and it is very frendly. It likes to be held, my children love to hold it and it crawls all over them. I have not had any problems with it. I'm asuming it is a female since I got up this mornning and there where six eggs in the tank with it. I have been feeding her grass hoppers Caterpillars and small frogs. She eats when she wants. Sometimes she will go a couple of days without eating but she is doing good so far.

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