Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)
Rough Greensnake (Opheodrys aestivus)
Photo of Rough Greensnake courtesy of Linh Phu
Northern Rough Snake
22 - 32 inches. Record - 45⅝ inches.
- A slender, long and delicate snake with a green back and unmarked white, cream, yellow or pale green belly.
- The keeled scales account for its “rough” name.
- The body turns blue a short time after death, accounting for reports of road-killed “blue” snakes.
Close-up Photo of Rough Greensnake
courtesy of Scott A. Smith
Photo of Rough Greensnake courtesy of Tony Prochaska
An arboreal species, it is found in association with shrubs and vines in riparian areas, particularly in areas with sandy soils. They also occur in hardwood and mixed pine-hardwood forests, old fields, suburban lawns, coastal shrub thickets and the wrack zone of barrier islands. Found primarily on the coastal plain.
How to Find:
A diurnal species, carefully look for them climbing in thick leafy woody vegetation along pond, river and lake shorelines. Gentle when handled and non-venomous.
Photo of Habitat for Rough Greensnake
courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
Distribution in Maryland:
Primarily a Coastal Plain species but has been known to follow river valleys west of the Fall Line into Montgomery County.