How to Keep Your New Green Snake
Aqualand's inside info on Opheodrys aestivus 

 

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Green Snake Factoids

Origin

Mostly eastern North America

Temperature

Room temp works fine 

Attitude

Climber

Security

None needed.  Climbs to hide.

Foods

Insects (mostly crickets)

Water

Water bowl plus high humidity

Breeding Comments

Needs an “artificial winter” to trigger eggs

Egg incubation

Varies by temperature -- about 5 weeks

Brood Size

2 to 14

Baby Size

8 inches

Adult Size

Under three feet.  Very thin.

Longevity

About four years

LA 
You gotta admit this guy is cute.  Oddly enough, they grow wild in Iowa.

Appeal.  Beautiful bright green adult green snakes look sharp.  Weve loved these guys since we saw one for the first time while seining for dace in Alabama.  They’re easy to care for and inexpensive.  Snakes are easy to keep.  Rough-scaled green snakes are possibly the easiest.  We stopped carrying them a couple years ago because they arrived with little blisters on them.

LA 
Green snakes are very long and very skinny.

Origin.  Weve never seen a green snake locally, however several populations exist in Iowa.  Think of green snakes as the anole of the snake family.  They’re nearly as common as our local garter snakes in the Eastern U.S. – especially in the southern states. 

LA
Captive-bred baby green snakes. 

Food.  Crickets, crickets, crickets.  However, you need to dust the little chirpers with powdered calcium and vitamins at least once per week.  Feed your crickets a nutritious food also.  Green snakes will eat every day but every other day works fine also.  And it’s always a good idea to give them other soft bugs for variety.  As tasty as crickets are, you still need a little variety in your green snake’s lunch bucket -- flies, mealworms, wax worms or whatever crawls across your floor.  Green snakes really love house flies.

 

Free Food.  Get your chop sticks out and catch some house flies for your green snake.  Of course, you’ll need to remove one wing, so they can catch them.  (Green anole keepers know how to do this.)  Flies make an excellent supplement to their regular menu.  (And you will be benefiting all mankind every time you feed your snake.)

Baby Food.  Adult green snakes eat crickets, so naturally, the baby green snakes eat smaller crickets – often called the pinhead size.  These can be hard to find – another reason to catch flies for them.

LA
Green snake having a sip from the local water hole.

Water.  Green snakes need high humidity.  A large water bowl with a bubbling airstone works fine.  They don’t loaf in it like the larger snakes, but they will drink it and do need the extra humidity.  Or mist them daily.  Or build a little water fall.  A layer of mossy substrate will help hold extra moisture.

LA
Green snakes need a water bowl and an occasional misting.

Dehydration.  Probably the biggest threat to green snakes is drying out.  They suffer from lack of moisture very fast.  Therefore, play it safe and mist these guys daily.  

Too Much Water.  Careful on the humidity.  Too much water in the substrate seems to cause green snakes to develop little blisters.  Are these blisters fatal?  The jury is still out.

LA 
L-o-n-g and green bug-eating machines.

Good Climbers.  Green snakes live in the grass, in the bushes, and in the trees.  These skinny little guys are amazingly strong and quite active.  When you hold them, they will sometimes extend 2/3 of their body.  They need sticks, twigs, and vines to climb on and among.  

Tip #1:  If you use green vines, you will never see your green snake again. They blend right in.  Use those weird colored vines or white vines. 

Tip #2:  Make sure you have a secure cage top that will hold in these pencil-thin varmints.  (Get out your roll of duct tape, if necessary.)

Lighting.  Sure, green snakes would prefer a full-spectrum light.  However, it’s hard to justify a light that costs much more than the critter.  For this reason, they work better in a communal terrarium, where you’re keeping several critters and can thus justify the cost.

Good Mixers.  Since these guys only prey on insects, you can mix them in a terrarium with other insectivores such as:

   ·       Green Anoles,

   ·       Long-Tail Grass Skinks,

   ·       Small American Toads,

   ·       Red-Bellied Toads,

   ·       Eastern Newts,

   ·       Red-Bellied Newts,

   ·       House Geckos, and

   ·       Green Tree Frogs.       

You could also mix them with salamanders (which could eat some of these other critters).  Your green snake will occupy the top floor.  Your salamander will reside in the basement.

LA
Newly arrived green snakes ready for release.

Other Comments.  On the average, most kids should not have a green snake.  Green snakes prefer less handling than many of the larger snakes.  Handling won’t hurt them, but rough handling will.  LA.

© 1997, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005   LA Productions

   

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