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Rough Green Snakes

Snakes -> Green Snakes

Rough green snakes are small - even by the standards of other reasonably-sized snakes in the hobby.

Growing to a maximum size of around 70 - 80cm at most, sometimes considerably smaller - particularly males that may only grow to around 60cm in length.

Going by the latin name of Opheodrys aestivus these snakes, whilst small, are highly attractive being a bright green color mainly with a yellow or cream underside.

Hailing from across much of the USA, wild-caught specimens seem more common in the hobby that captive-bred specimens though they can and have been bred numerous times in captivity.

They are fast and "whippy", trying to escape rapidly when handled and this in combination with their delicate physique means they are a snake not ideally suited to regular handling sessions.

Indeed, it is suggested that to reduce the chances of loss of damage to the snake, the rough green snake is only handled when absolutely necessary.

Another disadvantage of the rough green snake is that it is unlikely to take standard snake food - such as dead mice.

This stunning snake requires instead live food - brown crickets that have been supplemented with a vitamin powder is the standard fare and they seem to do well on the diet.

However, this makes feeding more complicated requiring the purchase and management of a tub of crickets. More squeemih readers may balk at the idea of handling live crickets and it is only fair to mention that the cage needs to be super-secure if the crickets (or, heaven forbid, your snake itself) are not to escape and run riot around your home.

So why then, would anyone consider keeping one (or more) of these snakes?!

Well, I've already mentioned how attractive the rough green snake is, but it also has a range of additional redeeming features.

Firstly, it is typically one of the cheapest snakes available and a 60cm cage will house a number of specimens easily.

Yes unlike most commonly-kept snakes the rough green snake may be kept in small communities. Being active and awake during the daytime this setup ensures that there is always something interesting going on and with a suitable winter cooling period the rough green snake may well mate and lay eggs in captivity.

Lastly, being so lightweight, and semi-arboreal in nature, this is one of the few snakes that will appreciate a planted snake cage.

All these benefits can make a well-planted, good-sized cage of rough green snakes a most attractive and interesting feature in the home - and so should be considered an excellent snake species to keep in captivity.