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Rough Green Snake

opheodrys aestivus

Rough green snakes are small, dainty snakes with a beautiful emerald color. They are gentle and easy to handle, but can be very quick.

Rough Green Snake Facts

Average Adult Size 2 ½ to 3 feet
Average Life Span up to 15+ years with proper care, depending on species
Diet insectivore

Will reach adult size in 2 to 3 years, under ideal conditions; upgrade habitat size as your snake grows.

Diet

A well-balanced rough green snake diet consists of:

  • Gut-loaded (recently fed) crickets, mealworms or superworms, as rough green snakes are one of the few insectivore snakes.

Feeding

Things to remember when feeding your rough green snake:

  • Feed once or twice a week.
  • Sprinkle food with calcium supplement daily and a multi-vitamin supplement once or twice a week.
  • Fresh, clean, chlorine-free water should be available at all times in a large enough bowl for your snake to soak in.

Housing

  • Size - Appropriately sized and shaped habitat for an adult rough green snake to accommodate normal behavior and exercise, at least a 20L tank.
  • Substrate - Mulch type, coconut fiber bedding, dampened sphagnum moss and reptile bark.
  • Habitat - Provide a hiding area just large enough for your snake to fit inside and a branch or décor to climb on. Maintain 40 to 60% humidity; higher during shedding.
  • Temperature - Temperature gradient (80°F for the warm end and 70°F for the cool end).
  • Provide a basking area about 85 to 88°F to aid digestion.
  • Lighting - Snakes need a photo period light cycle; provide 8 to 12 hours of light daily. Don't leave white light on at all times; a black or infrared light should be used at night.
  • Do not house different snake species together.

Normal Behavior

  • As snake gets ready to shed, eyes will turn a milky blue/grey over the course of a few days and body color will start to dull and develop a whitish sheen. May become irritable, so avoid handling. Appetite may vary.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect the habitat at least once a week: place snake in a secure habitat; scrub the tank and furnishings with a 3% bleach solution; rinse thoroughly with water, removing all traces of bleach smell; dry the tank and furnishings completely and add clean substrate.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Snakes will regularly shed their skin; ensure humidity of habitat is at appropriate level to allow snake to shed properly.

Health

Signs of a Healthy Animal

  • Active and alert
  • Clear eyes (except when shedding)
  • Eats regularly
  • Healthy skin
  • Sheds skin regularly in one complete piece
  • Free of mites and ticks

Red Flags

  • unusually frequent or infrequent shedding
  • vomiting
  • lethargic or reluctant to eat
  • abnormal feces
  • bumps or spots on skin
  • labored breathing
  • difficulty shedding
  • White, cheesy substance in mouth

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health Issue Dermatitis Symptoms or Causes Blisters, rapid shedding caused by an unclean habitat or one that is too cold or damp. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian, clean the habitat and lower humidity.
Health Issue Respiratory disease Symptoms or Causes Labored breathing, mucus in mouth or nostrils. Can be caused by a habitat that is too cold or damp. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian and keep snake warm and dry.
Health Issue Stomatitis Symptoms or Causes White, cheesy substance in the mouth, loss of teeth and appetite. If untreated, can be fatal. Suggested Action Immediately consult your veterinarian.
Health Issue Ticks and mites Symptoms or Causes Parasites on skin, can transmit disease. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian.

Sources

Ask a store partner about Petco's selection of books on rough green snakes and the variety of private brand products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All private brand products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all reptiles are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your reptile or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing or caring for reptiles and should consider not having a reptile as a pet.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov/healthypets for more information about reptiles and disease.

This care sheet can cover the needs of other species.

Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the sources on the following page or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.