Squamata

Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)


Family Colubridae

Northern Rough Greensnake

Common Name:

Northern Rough Greensnake


Scientific Name:

Opheodrys aestivus aestivus

Photo of Northern Rough Greensnake courtesy of Linh Phu
Photo of Northern Rough Greensnake courtesy of Linh Phu


Size:
22 - 32 inches. Record - 45⅝ inches.

Appearance:
  • 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 Northern Rough Greensnake - courtesy of Scott A. Smith
Close-up Photo of Northern Rough Greensnake
courtesy of Scott A. Smith

Photo of Northern Rough Greensnake courtesy of Tony Prochaska
Photo of Northern Rough Greensnake courtesy of Tony Prochaska


Habitats:

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 Northern Rough Greensnake - courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
Photo of Habitat for Northern 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.​

Northern Rough Greensnake - Distribution in Maryland