Northern Rough Green Snake



Scientific name: Opheodrys aestivus aestivus (LINNAEUS 1766)
* Currently accepted name

* scientific names used through time

  • Coluber aestivus – LINNAEUS 1766
  • Leptophis aestivus – BAIRD & GIRARD 1853
  • Leptophis majalis – BAIRD & GIRARD 1853
  • Herpetodryas aestivus – DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854
  • Cyclophis aestivus – COPE 1872
  • Opheodrys aestivus – CONANT 1958
  • Opheodrys aestivus aestivus – GROBMAN 1984
  • Opheodrys aestivus majalis – GROBMAN 1984
  • Opheodrys aestivus conanti – GROBMAN 1984

Description: Adult size is 22-32 inches (56-81 cm). The record is 45.4 inches (115.3 cm). A slender bright green snake with a cream to pale yellow belly. The belly color extends onto the chin and lips. (In death the green coloration changes to blue-gray). There are 17 dorsal scale rows at midbody and the scales are keeled. The pupils are round. Juvenile coloration is similar to adults, but not as brightly colored.


A. Top of the head
B. Underside of the head (chin and throat)
C. Front (face view) of the head
D. Side of the head
E. Keeled scales
F. Elongated scales below the tail (subcaudal scales) are typically divided

Range: In Florida, the Northern Rough Green Snake occurs in the northern half of the peninsula (Orange, Seminole, Volusia, and Flagler counties) north and west throughout the panhandle. Outside the state, it occurs north to southern New Jersey and west to eastern Texas, Nebraska, and Missouri.

Habitat: Found in mixed hardwood and bottomland forest as well as the hardwood hammocks. It is fairly abundant in maritime forest and dunes meadows of Atlantic coast barrier islands. Because of its arboreal behavior, it prefers densely leafed trees and shrubs, often at the edges of fields and around ponds.


Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Northern Rough Green Snake is arboreal and feeds primarily on insects found on the leaves and stems of trees and shrubs. Its bright green color provides excellent camouflage in vegetation. When disturbed it typically ceases all movement and will sometimes sway to mimic the movement of the surrounding wind-blown foliage. Eggs are laid in mid to late summer under objects in damp areas. The 3-12 hatchlings are 6-8.5 inches (15-21.5 cm) long.

Comparison with other species: There are no other (native) bright green snakes in Florida.