Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)

Sub-order Serpentes, Family Colubridae

Northern Rough Greensnake
Opheodrys a. 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.

    Maryland Distribution Map for Northern Rough Greensnake

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    Maryland Amphibian
    and Reptile Atlas Project

    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

    For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

    The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.