True to its name, the Smooth Greensnake has smooth scales and is solid bright green with a white or off-white belly. Very young greensnakes (neonates) are a very dark green. Smooth Greensnakes can grow to be 2 feet long (the longest documented in Vermont is 19 inches).
Smooth Greensnakes lay eggs. Dead snakes gradually turn blue.
Get more detailed identification and life history information by downloading the chart here.
Smooth Greensnakes are found in beaver meadows, overgrown fields, pastures, and sedge meadows at all elevations but they appear to be missing entirely from most of the Northeast Kingdom.
This species has a state natural heritage rank of S3 (uncommon); however, it is becoming difficult to find in Vermont. The Smooth Greensnake has been designated a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (medium priority) in Vermont’s Wildlife Action Plan. Please report all sightings of this species in Vermont. Take photos if possible. Even historic sighting information is useful. Any natural history observations (feeding, migrations, road crossing areas, early or late season appearance, abnormalities, etc.) are appreciated.
This snake was formerly classifed in the genus Liochlorophis.
- Opheodrys vernalis at the Animal Diversity website
- Opheodrys vernalis at the Canadian Herpetological Society website
- Opheodrys vernalis in the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Action Plan: Amphibian & Reptiles (9/25/2015 draft)
- Opheodrys vernalis at the Snakes of Massachusetts website
Species summary written by Ariel K. McK. Burgess.