Overview

Distribution

Smooth green snakes are are only native to the Nearctic region. They are found from northeastern Canada, west to Saskatchewan, south through Illinois and Virginia. There are isolated populations in areas of the western United States as well, including Wyoming, New Mexico, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Texas, and northern Mexico.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

  • Harding, J. 1997. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range Description

This species occurs widely in the United States and southern Canada, with an isolated population in northern Mexico. Its range extends from Nova Scotia westward across southern Canada to southeastern Saskatchewan, south and west to northern New Jersey, western Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, southern Ohio, northwestern Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Chihuahua (Mexico), and Utah, and highly disjunctly to southeastern Texas in the United States; the distribution is highly discontinuous throughout the western half of the range (Conant and Collins 1991, Grobman 1992, Walley 2003).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) The range extends from Nova Scotia westward across southern Canada to southeastern Saskatchewan, south and west to northern New Jersey, western Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, southern Ohio, northwestern Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Chihuahua (Mexico), and Utah, and highly disjunctly to southeastern Texas; the distribution is highly discontinuous throughout the western half of the range (Conant and Collins 1991, Grobman 1992, Walley 2003).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Geographic Range

Smooth Green snakes are are only native to the Nearctic region. They are found from northeastern Canada, west to Saskatchewan, south through Illinois and Virginia. There are isolated populations in areas of the western United States as well, including Wyoming, New Mexico, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Texas, and northern Mexico.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Continent: North-America Middle-America
Distribution: S Canada (incl. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island), USA (scattered in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine; Colorado [HR 32: 60], Texas), Mexico  
Type locality: E Pennsylvania or New Jersey (fide GROBMAN 1941).  blanchardi: USA (Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota), Canada (Manitoba);
Type locality: Spanish Peaks, 8,000 feet, Colorado.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Peter Uetz

Source: The Reptile Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Smooth green snakes are the only snakes in eastern North America that are entirely bright green on their upper surfaces. This coloration camouflages them well in their grassy habitats. The head is slightly wider than the neck and is green above and white below. The belly is white to pale yellow. Occasionally smooth green snakes can be brown or tan in coloration. The scales are smooth and total body length ranges from 30 to 66 cm. Males are usually smaller than females, but have longer tails. Newly hatched smooth green snakes measure 8.3 to 16.5 cm in length and tend to be less brightly colored than adults, often olive-green or bluish-gray. Smooth green snakes are harmless snakes, they are not venomous.

Range length: 30 to 66 cm.

Other Physical Features: heterothermic

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger; sexes shaped differently

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Smooth green snakes are the only snakes in eastern North America that are entirely bright green on their upper surfaces. This coloration camouflages them well in their grassy habitats. The head is slightly wider than the neck and is green above and white below. The belly is white to pale yellow. Occasionally smooth green snakes can be brown or tan in coloration. The scales are smooth and total body length ranges from 30 to 66 cm. Males are usually smaller than females, but have longer tails. Newly hatched smooth green snakes measure 8.3 to 16.5 cm in length and tend to be less brightly colored than adults, often olive-green or bluish-gray. Smooth Green snakes are harmless snakes, they are not venomous.

Range length: 30.0 to 66.0 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger; sexes shaped differently

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Size

Length: 66 cm

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Diagnostic Description

Differs from COLUBER CONSTRICTOR in smaller size, in having the nostril centered in a single scale rather than placed between two scales, and in having a single anterior temporal scale on each side rather than two. Differs from OPHEODRYS AESTIVUS in having smooth rather than keeled dorsal scales. Differs from SENTICOLIS TRIASPIS (green rat snake) in having fewer dorsal scale rows (15 at mid-body vs. 25 or more) and in lacking keels on any of the dorsal scales.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Smooth green snakes are found in moist, grassy areas, usually in prairies, pastures, meadows, marshes, and lake eges. They can also be found in open forested areas. They are most often found on the ground or climbing in low bushes. They also bask on and hide beneath rocks, logs, and other debris.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; scrub forest

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds

Wetlands: marsh

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species' habitats include meadows, grassy marshes, moist grassy fields at forest edges, mountain shrublands, stream borders, bogs, open moist woodland, abandoned farmland, and vacant lots. This snake has been found hibernating in abandoned ant mounds. Eggs are laid under rotting wood, underground, or under rocks.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: Habitats include meadows, grassy marshes, moist grassy fields at forest edges, mountain shrublands, stream borders, bogs, open moist woodland, abandoned farmland, and vacant lots. This snake has been found hibernating in abandoned ant mounds.

Eggs are laid under rotting wood, underground, or under rocks.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Smooth Green snakes are found in moist, grassy areas, usually in prairies, pastures, meadows, marshes, and lake eges. They can also be found in open forested areas. They are most often found on the ground or climbing in low bushes. They also bask on and hide beneath rocks, logs, and other debris.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; scrub forest

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds

Wetlands: marsh

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

May migrate between winter hibernaculum and summer range in some areas (Vogt 1981).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Smooth green snakes eat mainly insects. They prefer crickets, grasshoppers, and caterpillars, and will also eat beetles, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, snails, slugs, and sometimes amphibians.

Animal Foods: amphibians; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; mollusks

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: Primary diet is small terrestrial invertebrates (caterpillars, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, etc.).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Food Habits

Smooth green snakes eat mainly insects. They prefer Gryllidae, Orthoptera, and Lepidoptera, and will also eat Coleoptera, Araneae, Chilopoda, Diplopoda, Gastropoda, Gastropoda, and sometimes Amphibia.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Smooth green snakes influence the populations of their insect prey and serve as a food source for predators.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Smooth green snakes are probably eaten by birds, such as hawks and American crows, by large snakes, such as milk snakes, and by some mammals, such as raccoons and foxes. They rely on their bright green color to camouflage them under most circumstances. They are fast and agile and can escape quickly, but will bite and thrash if harassed and can smear attackers with a nasty-smelling fluid.

Known Predators:

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecosystem Roles

Smooth Green snakes influence the populations of their insect prey and serve as a food source for predators.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Predation

Smooth green snakes are probably eaten by birds, such as Accipitridae and Corvus brachyrhynchos, by large snakes, such as Lampropeltis triangulum, and by some mammals, such as Procyon lotor and Vulpes vulpes. They rely on their bright green color to camouflage them under most circumstances. They are fast and agile and can escape quickly, but will bite and thrash if harassed and can smear attackers with a nasty-smelling fluid.

Known Predators:

  • Accipitridae
  • Corvus brachyrhynchos
  • Procyon lotor
  • Vulpes vulpes
  • Lampropeltis triangulum

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: > 300

Comments: This species is represented by a very large number of occurrences or subpopulations (Walley 2003).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Abundance

100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds 100,000. The species is apparently uncommon in many areas, but it is locally common in some areas.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

General Ecology

May aggregate in hibernacula; groups of between 100-150 have been found in Manitoba and Minnesota.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

As other snakes, smooth green snakes rely mainly on their sense of smell, vision, and their detection vibrations to locate prey. They mainly communicate with other snakes by chemical cues and through tactile cues.

Communication Channels: tactile ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; vibrations ; chemical

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Communication and Perception

As other snakes, Smooth Green snakes rely mainly on their sense of smell, vision, and their detection vibrations to locate prey. They mainly communicate with other snakes by chemical cues and through body language.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Cyclicity

Comments: Generally inactive from November to March. Primarily diurnal but has been found crossing roads at night during warm summer and fall rains (Vogt 1981).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

Lifespans in the wild of smooth green snakes are unknown. One captive individual lived for 6 years.

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
6 (high) years.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lifespan/Longevity

Lifespans in the wild of Smooth Green snakes are unknown. One captive individual lived for 6 years.

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
6.0 (high) years.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 6.1 years (captivity)
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Source: AnAge

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

Smooth green snakes mate in the spring and late summer. Females lay from 3 to 13 cylindrical eggs in shallow burrows, in rotting vegetation, or under logs or rocks. Females may share nest sites, each depositing their eggs into a single nest. Eggs are laid from June to September and the eggs hatch in August or September. Time to hatching varies quite a bit, from 4 to 30 days. This is partly a result of their ability to retain the eggs and incubate them in their body. Keeping the eggs inside the female would be beneficial to speed development because females can bask and maintain the warmth of their eggs if they are retained in her body. Young smooth green snakes mature in their second year.

Breeding interval: Smooth green snakes breed once each year.

Breeding season: Females lay eggs from June to September, the young hatch in August or September.

Range number of offspring: 3 to 13.

Average gestation period: 30 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; sexual ; oviparous

Once a female lays her eggs there is no further parental care of the young, though females may retain their eggs for varying amounts of time - thus warming them to speed development and protecting them from predators and injury.

Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female)

  • Harding, J. 1997. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Eggs are laid usually during the first three weeks of August in northern Michigan, mainly late June to late July in the Chicago area, Illinois. Clutch size is 3-18 (generally 4-9). Eggs hatch in a few to about 30 days, early August to early September in northern Michigan, mostly early to mid-August in Chicago. Probably sexually mature in about two years. Copulation has been recorded in August in Ontario. Sometimes nests communally (Fitch 1970; Herp. Rev. 20:84).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Smooth Green snakes mate in the spring and late summer. Females lay from 3 to 13 cylindrical eggs in shallow burrows, in rotting vegetation, or under logs or rocks. Females may share nest sites, each depositing their eggs into a single nest. Eggs are laid from June to September and the eggs hatch in August or September. Time to hatching varies quite a bit, from 4 to 30 days. This is partly a result of their ability to retain the eggs and incubate them in their body. Keeping the eggs inside the female would be beneficial to speed development because females can bask and maintain the warmth of their eggs if they are retained in her body. Young Smooth Green snakes mature in their second year.

Breeding interval: Smooth Green Snakes breed once each year.

Breeding season: Females lay eggs from June to September, the young hatch in August or September.

Range number of offspring: 3.0 to 13.0.

Range gestation period: 30.0 (high) days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2.0 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2.0 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

Once a female lays her eggs there is no further parental care of the young, though females may retain their eggs for varying amounts of time - thus warming them to speed development and protecting them from predators and injury.

Parental Investment: precocial ; female parental care

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Liochlorophis vernalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Opheodrys vernalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

Smooth green snakes have been declining in numbers and local populations have been wiped out throughout their range. This is mainly the result of habitat destruction and pesticide use. Because their diet is mainly insects, they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of insecticides that are widely sprayed in agricultural areas.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2007

Assessor/s
Hammerson, G.A.

Reviewer/s
Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of the large and relatively stable extent of occurrence area of occupancy, and number of subpopulations. The species is not threatened in most of its range.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Wide, discontinuous range in eastern and centtral North America; globally secure due primarily to extensive range and many extant occurrences; often apparently uncommon, locally common in some areas; information on populations is scant.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Smooth Green snakes have been declining in numbers and local populations have been wiped out throughout their range. This is mainly the result of habitat destruction and pesticide use. Because their diet is mainly insects, they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of insecticides that are widely sprayed in agricultural areas.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
It is represented by a very large number of occurrences or subpopulations (Walley 2003). The total adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds 100,000. Its extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of occurrences or subpopulations, and population size are probably relatively stable or slowly declining (less than 10% over 10 years or three generations).

Population Trend
Stable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of occurrences or subpopulations, and population size probably are relatively stable or slowly declining (less than 10% over 10 years or three generations).

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

Comments: Populations declined in northwestern Indiana between the 1930s and 1990s (Brodman et al. 2002).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
Local populations are threatened by habitat loss and degradation resulting from human activities and successional changes, but in general the species is not very threatened.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Degree of Threat: Medium

Comments: No major threats have been identified. Local populations are threatened by habitat loss and degradation resulting from human activities and successional changes, but in general the species is not very threatened.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species occurs in several parks and preserves.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: Many occurrences are in protected areas.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Smooth green snakes help to control populations of insect pests where they are abundant.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Smooth Green snakes help to control populations of insect pests where they are abundant.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Smooth green snake

The smooth greensnake (Opheodrys vernalis) is a nonvenomous North American colubrid. It is also referred to as the grass snake. It is a slender, "small medium" snake that measures 36–51 cm (14–20 in) as an adult. It gets its common name from its smooth dorsal scales, as opposed to the rough green snake, which has keeled dorsal scales. It is found in marshes, meadows, open woods, and along stream edges and is native to regions of Canada, Maine, Illinois, Virginia, Wyoming, New Mexico, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Texas, and northern Mexico. A non-aggressive snake, it seldom bites and usually flees when threatened. It mates in late spring to summer and females lay their eggs from June to September.

Description[edit]

The smooth green snake is slender.[2] In size, it is classified as a "small medium" snake,[3] reaching to 36–51 cm (14–20 in) in total length as an adult. The longest smooth green snake was measured as being 66 cm (26 in) in total length.[4] The tail makes up about 1/4 to 1/2 the total length of the snake; males have longer tails than females.[5]

It is uniform light green on its back, with a yellow or white belly, and has smooth dorsal scales,[6] unlike those of the rough green snake, which are keeled. Its smooth dorsal scales are arranged in 15 rows at midbody.[7]

At birth, its dorsal coloration is different than when it matures.[2] At first, it can be olive green, blue-gray, or even brown, but after it sheds its skin for the first time, it becomes the characteristic bright green.[8] The dorsal coloration can also vary depending on location: bluish in Kansas, olive-tinted light brown in southeastern Texas, and bronze in northern Wisconsin.[5]

Typical for a nonvenomous snake, its eyes are large and round. It uses its tongue, red with a black end, by flicking it in and out of its mouth to "smell" what is around it.[8]

Subspecies[edit]

Geographic range[edit]

Smooth Green Snake Map.png

The smooth green snake is only native to the Nearctic region. The range spreads through northeastern Canada, west to Saskatchewan, and south through Illinois and Virginia. It can also be found in other areas, such as Wyoming, New Mexico, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Texas, and northern Mexico.[10]

Threats[edit]

It is hunted by various predators, including the red-tailed hawk, great blue heron, rough-legged buzzard, bears, raccoons, foxes, and the common house cat. Humans also find these snakes in the wild and keep them for pets. They are subjected to commercial collection because of their nice skin coloration, passive nature, and small size. However, this snake is not known to survive well in captivity. Because their populations are usually isolated and small in size, this commercial collection can greatly affect the overall population.[5][11]

The smooth green snake population is also declining due to the use of pesticides, as well as destruction of habitats.[12] Pesticides are particularly harmful to the snake when used in riparian areas, mountain foothills and meadows. Because the smooth green snake's diet consists mainly of insects, insecticides put the snake at great risk in areas where they are applied. The reduction of its prey is a major cause of the death of the snakes, as well as one of the most important natural threats to its population.[5]

Habitat destruction is caused by road building, logging, cattle grazing, and the draining of streams. Logging and mining conducted in a smooth green snake habitat can be a source of snake mortality. Roads and highways are a major cause of deaths, especially those near streams or other habitats the snake occupies. Livestock grazing has been found to reduce snake populations in some areas, where five times the amount of snakes were found on ungrazed areas, compared to grazed areas. The effects of livestock grazing include the reduction of grass, changes in tree species, compaction of soil, and more erosion, which affect the reptile population in these areas.[5]Flooding, freezing, and destruction of dens can destroy large numbers of smooth green snakes, as well as other species of snake with which it may hibernate.[5]

Human recreational activities, such as off-road vehicles near wetlands, are also damaging its habitat. Lakes and streams are enjoyable areas for recreation, but human activity in these areas can degrade them. The use of off-road vehicles in or around wetlands, however, is the most damaging recreational activity. Mud bogging significantly damages and destroys these areas. Also, oil and gasoline from off-road vehicles has been found in snake habitats.[5]

Conservation status[edit]

The snake is of least concern in terms of conservation, but the concern is increasing in the U.S.[citation needed] While there is some research showing the population of the snake is declining, only a small number of states (Iowa, Missouri, Indiana,[13] North Carolina, Montana, and Texas[14] protect the smooth green snake. Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado also protect the snake under state law. This law prohibits commercial collection of the snake and collection by individuals.[5]

Habitat[edit]

The snake can be found in many different habitats, including marshes, meadows, the edges of streams, and open woods. It prefers to be on the ground, in opens areas without a lot of shrubs. During hibernation, the smooth green snake looks for burrows, ant hills, and other dug-out underground areas, normally gathering in large numbers.[2] It prefers moist habitats and areas near permanent water sources, usually staying in green areas for camouflage.[8][15] Being cold blooded, it prefers warm areas, lying in the sun on rocks and logs, also using them for hiding.[10]

Behavior[edit]

Smooth green snakes rely on an environment matching their green scales for camouflage to protect themselves from predators. If threatened, a smooth green snake will usually flee. They are docile snakes, seldom bite and usually allow humans to come close.[15] If provoked, it can secrete a substance from its anal gland, causing a foul smell.[11] When handled by humans, it usually shows excited behavior and calms down after wrapping itself around a finger. When it hunts, it turns its head from side to side, finding prey with its tongue and an organ on the roof of its mouth that interprets chemical signals. It has no ears, relying on vibrations to figure out its surroundings. Its sight is relatively strong over short distances. Due to stretchy ligaments in its jaw, it can swallow prey whole, even those that are larger than its own body diameter. It can shed its skin as often as every four to five weeks, allowing for growth.[11]

During months when the weather is warmer, the snake tends to be active both day and night; while in the colder winter months, it hibernates in groups. Ant hills and rodent burrows are used during hibernation as part-time homes.[12]

Diet[edit]

Smooth green snakes mostly eat insects and spiders,[2] including spineless caterpillars, harvestmen, moths, ants, snails, worms, and slugs. While hunting, it uses both chemical and visual clues to find prey, and kills with a strike instead of constriction.[5]

Reproduction[edit]

Sexually mature smooth green snakes mate in the late spring or summer, and gravid females lay eggs from June to September. Usually, two clutches are laid, each containing four to six eggs. Females usually lay their eggs in rodent burrows, mounds of rotting vegetation, sawdust piles, or rotting logs.[16] In the northern habitats of this species, communal nesting has been observed.[5] Smooth green snake eggs are white and oval;they have thin shells and are about one inch in length.[8] They have an average mass of 2.6 grams.[5] The eggs hatch four to 23 days after being laid.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hammerson, G.A. (2007). Liochlorophis vernalis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 14 Oct 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d "Smooth green snake". Townson University. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Wright & Wright 1957, pp. 7, 552, 555–564, Figures 165 & 166, Map 43.
  4. ^ Conant 1975, pp. 184–186, Plate 25, Map 134.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Smooth Green Snake (Opheodrys vernalis): A Technical Conservation Assessment. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Schmidt & Davis 1941, pp. 120–121, Figure 28, Plate 12.
  7. ^ Smith & Brodie 1982, pp. 188–189.
  8. ^ a b c d "Northern Rockies Natural History Guide". The University of Montana. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Grobman, Arnold B. (1999). "Metamerism in the Snake Opheodrys vernalis, with a Description of a New Subspecies". Journal of Herpetology 26 (2): 175–186. doi:10.2307/1564859. 
  10. ^ a b "Smooth Green Snake". The Regents of the University of Michigan. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c Gregory, Adam. "Western Smooth Green Snake". South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Division of Wildlife, Pierre, SD. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Smooth Green Snake". Lincoln Park Zoo. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  13. ^ Indiana Legislative Services Agency (2011), 312 IAC 9-5-4: Endangered species of reptiles and amphibians, Indiana Administrative Code, retrieved 28 Apr 2012 
  14. ^ Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas listed species, retrieved 5 Jun 2012 
  15. ^ a b The Illustrated Encyclopedia of North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Mobilereference. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "Smooth Green Snake". UMassAmherst. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Conant, Roger (1975). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-19977-8. 
  • Schmidt, K.P.; Davis, D.D. (1941). Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 
  • Smith, H.M.; Brodie, E.D., Jr. (1982). Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. ISBN 0-307-13666-3. 
  • Wright, A.H.; Wright, A.A. (1957). Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Ithaca and London: Comstock. 

Further reading[edit]

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Oldham and Smith (1991) demonstrated several significant categorical differences between Opheodrys aestivus and O. vernalis, indicative of a long history of divergent evolution; they assigned the latter species to a new genus (Liochlorophis), leaving aestivus as the only member of the genus Opheodrys. Crother et al. (2000) and Crother (2008, 2012) maintained vernalis in the genus Opheodrys, based on (1) unpublished genetic data indicating a sister-taxa relationship between vernalis and aestivus and (2) their preference not to recognize monotypic sister genera. Walley (2003) concluded that available evidence supports recognition the new genus.

There has been some disagreement as to whether subspecies (vernalis, blanchardi) should be recognized (cf. Collins 1990, Smith et al. 1991, Grobman 1992). Grobman (1992) named a new subspecies (borealis) from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, based on the relatively low ventral scale count.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!