In our location in western NY State we are fortunate to have the Eastern Smooth Green Snake living near us. We only see this snake every couple of years, but have been seeing it for over 50 years. The green snake is a “friendly” snake that is relatively easy to hold and it will become relatively relaxed while being held. Green snakes do not make good pet snakes because they rarely survive in captivity. It is a small to medium size snake normally being 14-20 inches in length. It’s color varies in shades of green from quite dull to almost brilliant green, with a white or yellow belly. Green snakes are nonvenomous. They use their tongue by flicking it in and out of their mouth to smell what is around it. Their tongue is red and black. They have no ears and detect vibrations to evaluate their surroundings.
Amphibians, Reptiles and Birds have a cloaca which is a single opening that is used for intestinal, urinary and reproductive body functions. On the under side of the end of the tail you can see a line which looks different. This is the opening or cloaca. Sometimes snakes will discharge a substance that has a very foul smell from this opening, when they are handled. This substance can be washed off after handling the snake. Getting this substance on you is a minor inconvenience compared to the adventure of handling a snake. When capturing and handling a snake, if you are relaxed and gentle, the snake is less likely to discharge this substance.
Green snakes mate in the spring and summer and lay eggs from June to September. They usually lay two clutches containing four to six eggs. The eggs are laid in natural cavities in or near the ground. The eggs are white and oval and are about one inch in length. The eggs usually hatch within 23 days.
Green snakes feed on a variety of insects and spiders, snails, worms, and slugs. They prefer to live in areas with a combination of open vegetation and shrubs. They need moisture to live which makes a nearby water source important to survival during dry periods. Snakes are cold blooded animals and lie in the sun on rocks or logs to keep warm. Snakes are often seen near a rock pile or building which holds the heat into the evening and overnight. Green snakes have predators that eat them. Their predators include the red tailed hawk, great blue herron, bears, raccoons, and foxes.