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Eastern Smooth Green Snake

Liochlorophis vernalis vernalis (Harlen)

Call it a Green Snake or grass snake, there's no mistaking this bright green creature. it is widespread in Nova Scotia, in grassy, shrubby or dry boggy areas, including lawns.

Green Snakes are frequently captured by people because they are active during the day. They should not be kept as pets, even for a short time, because most refuse to eat in captivity. Green Snakes rarely try to bite. most couldn't get their mouth around your finger even if they wanted too. When you pick one up, it often winds around your fingers.

These creatures are well camouflaged in grassy settings, and can move very quickly to escape noisy people. They can also climb up plants. They eat mostly moth larvae and spiders.

In midsummer, females lay from 3 - 8 eggs in damp places like under rocks or rotting wood, in open areas exposed to the sun's heat. The white eggs are about 2 - 3 cm long and hatch into grey-green babies about 10 cm long.

Additional Facts and Details

The back and upper sides of the Maritime Smooth Green Snake varies from grass-green to yellowish-green. Grass-green ones are pale greenish-white underneath. Yellowish-green ones are yellowish-white underneath.

The eggs are 2 - 3.7 cm long. Females lay from 3 to 8 eggs each year, in the latter part of July or early August. The largest group nest found contained 30 eggs, probably from 6 to 8 females.

How big do they get? Here are some measurements we made:

  • Newly hatched young (93 measured) 9.6 - 12.9 cm long
  • Adult males (50 measured) 30 - 44 cm
  • Adult females (72 measured) 30 - 45 cm

In Canada this snake ranges throughout the Maritimes and is widespread in Nova Scotia.

A particularly good habitat seems to be grassy heath or fern roadsides and old fields. Also very common on lawns and gardens in suburban areas.

Earliest Nova Scotia record for coming out of hibernation in spring: May 3, in 1884, Berwick, Kings County. Latest record for seeing one in the fall: October 23, in 1935, at St. Peter's, Richmond County.

One mild, cloudy June afternoon in 1973, John Gilhen saw over 200 Smooth Green Snakes in just one hour at the side of a gravel road in Shelburne County.

They are great climbers - up shrubs, up tall flowers.

When a Green Snake is foraging for food, its head often sways gently from side to side.

Snake Species

Maritime Garter Snake

Eastern Smooth Green Snake

Northern Redbelly Snake

Northern Ringneck Snake

Northern Ribbon Snake

See Also

More Snake Facts