theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

June 18, 2013

Randy's Natural World

Randy Mitchell Special Correspondent
www.theadanews.com

Ada —

I hope I didn’t scare any readers with this week’s featured creature — the rough green snake. To be honest, there is really nothing to fear from this snake unless you are a cricket or a spider. I have captured hundreds, if not thousands, of snakes in my lifetime and the rough green snake is by far the most docile of all.

I have never been bitten by one. I will caution anyone who dares pick one up. They, like many snakes, excrete a foul smelling substance upon being handled. And I mean foul! My son Felix and I captured this rough green snake last week and handwashing was definitely in order afterwards.

Rough green snakes can usually be found in small trees, brush and vines — like greenbrier. They are very well camouflaged as they move along in search of food — crickets, spiders, grasshoppers, moths, caterpillars and sometimes a small frog. They hunt during the day and are preyed upon by birds, mammals and even other snakes.

Rough green snakes can grow to nearly four feet in length but will remain very thin. They breed in the spring and the female will lay up to one-dozen eggs in summer. The rough green snake in the photos above is a female. She was only about 18 inches long and was very calm. As always, we photographed and studied the snake for a short time, and then let it go in the proper environment — greenbrier.

Rough green snakes are found just about everywhere in the eastern two-thirds of Oklahoma and are common in Pontotoc County, common but hard to spot.