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This site was created by students in the herpetology class at Towson University.  Site last updated: 05/21/07.

Acknowledgements: Herb Harris - Range Maps;  Mark Tegges - Photography; Dan Lapascha & Gigi Forester - TU Herpetology Logo

Smooth green snake

(Opheodrys vernalis)


The smooth green snake has a slender body and an adult length of 11 to 20 inches.  Scales are smooth, unlike those of the larger rough green snake, Opheodrys aestivus.  They can be categorized by the bright green dorsum, and the venter is white or yellow.  There are 15 scale rows at mid-body, and the anal plate is divided.  Newborns are a dark-olive green and gradually get brighter with age.



Less arboreal than O. aestivus, the smooth green snake prefers to be on the ground or in low shrubbery.  Habitat choice varies widely and includes meadows, marshes, stream edges, and open woods.  It largely consumes insects and spiders but will eat salamanders, slugs, centipedes and millipedes.  The smooth green snake hibernates in ant hills, burrows, and other underground retreats, often in large numbers.


Mating occurs in spring and early summer.  3 to 12 thin-shelled eggs are laid in late summer under loose rocks or soil, and the young hatch about a month later.  Hatchlings range from 3 to 5 inches long at birth. 

Distribution in Maryland

Range map adapted from Harris, 1975.