Easily Overlooked, The Rough Green Snake

By Kelly Vowels

rough-green_snakeRough green snakes (Opheodrys aestivus) are beautiful slender, green snakes that are easily overlooked.  They are probably the most arboreal (most likely to live in trees) of the snakes found in our region, spending most of their time above ground hunting for spiders, insects, and other invertebrates.  When encountered they often freeze, relying on their green coloration to camouflage them. They are nonvenomous and seldom bite. They are normally found in riparian areas along ponds and streams, and spend their nights coiled up in dense vegetation. They use their tongues to sense chemical cues, and have excellent eyesight.

Even though green snakes are mild-mannered, it is important to leave them and other snakes alone. Snakes, even the venomous ones, are important to the ecosystem here at Bernheim Forest, and we need to protect them. They act as both predator and prey, and without them our ecosystem would be out of balance. They feed on insects, spiders, and rodents, and keep pest problems in check. They are also prey to raptors, owls, reptiles, and mammals. So while driving, or hiking through Bernheim, if you encounter any snake, keep your distance and let it continue to be an important part of the forest. If you leave the snake alone, it will leave you alone.

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