You, I and this snake know that most folks don’t take too kindly to the “no shoulders”. Ever since that incident in the garden of Eden way back when … Anyway, I’ve grown much fonder of snakes since I have proven by practice that they are not out to get us. I don’t want to blab on about that and try to convince anyone about anything. What I do want to do is to learn more about this guy and share what I’ve learned.
The rough green snake’s Latin name is Opheodrys aestivus. Thanks to the Illinois Natural History Survey, I’ve learned that Opheodrys comes from two Greek words: ophis meaning “serpent” or “reptile” and drymos, meaning “forest” or “woods”. Aestivus is Latin for “pertaining to summer”. So, we have a forest-dwelling reptile that you can see in the summer, according to its name. We did see one in a bush in 40 degree weather, so that’s a pretty generalized name.
O. aestivus has keeled scales (scales with ridges), similar to rattlesnakes. Could that be why it’s called rough? Certainly its behavior is very well-mannered and genteel, unless you happen to be a caterpillar, tree cricket or a small spider. Today’s rough green snake is nonvenomous, unlike the rattler. Also, unlike the rattler, this snake is primarily diurnal, which means it’s out mostly in the day time. It has big eyes compared to other snakes, and has round pupils. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is a characteristic of diurnal snakes.
Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana says these “non-biting snakes” primarily eat insects and spiders and tend to do so while they are off the ground in trees or bushes. When we have seen rough green snakes, they have been in bushes and near water, as the book mentions.
They’re quite difficult to spot sometimes when the whole world seems green in the height of summer. They do prefer to remain still and camouflaged. If you’ve read this far, maybe you’ll agree that they sound like they’re pretty harmless. I think they look sweet. I do hear (in my mind) all the lady-folk in my family disagreeing: passionately. So, if you’re of a similar mind or not, thanks for reading about the rough green snake and remember you have absolutely nothing to fear from it unless you’re a small arthropod!