Discover the Largest Green Snake in the World

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: December 24, 2022
© iStock.com/Handini_Atmodiwiryo
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Key Points:
  • There are two species of green snakes in the genus of Opheodrys (North American Green snake): the smooth green snake and the rough green snake.
  • The South American green snake can be found in Central America and northern South America. Like the Rough green snake, it’s arboreal (living in trees) and well camouflaged.
  • Different from most green snakes, which are typically skinny, the Green Anaconda is a huge, thick snake, and the largest green snake in the world.

When it comes to green snakes there are snakes that are green and there are snakes in the “Green Snake” family. While there green snakes that can be found on every continent (except Antarctica) there are two snakes in the Green Snake genus Opheodrys. We will compare those two species as well as look at some of the snakes that are green from across the world. Let’s discover the largest green snake in the world!

The North American Green snake (Opheodrys)

There are two species of Green Snakes in the genus of Opheodrys (North American Green snake). There is the Smooth green snake and the Rough green snake. Both are long skinny green snakes with big eyes! Let’s take a look at the differences between them and discover which one is the largest green snake.

A smooth green snake on dead leaves
Smooth green snakes have smooth scales along their backs and can get to be 26 inches long.

©iStock.com/tamers1

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  • Smooth green snake (grass green snake) is found in the northeast US states and along the US Canada border into Canada. There are also populations located in the central states of Wyoming, Colorado and down to New Mexico. These are small skinny snakes, a little thicker than a pencil but some can get to be 20 inches long. The largest smooth green snake on record was 66 cm (26 inches) long, so just a little over 2 feet. They are a ground snake that will hide in burrows of other animals and can be found hanging out in groups. They are non-venomous and harmless to humans.    
  • Rough green snake (vine snake) has rougher scales (a keeled look) than the smooth green snake. They are also found in North America in the southern half of the US. These snakes prefer living in trees and vegetation. With their bright green backs and yellow bellies, they blend in nicely with their plant-based habitat. During cooler seasons they can be found hiding on the ground or under rocks. Rough green snakes are also very slender but are larger than Smooth Green snakes. They range from 35-82 cm (14-33 inches long), with the longest ever recorded being 116 cm (46 inches).
rough green snake on rocks
Rough green snakes are the largest green snake in the world in the true Green Snake family.

©iStock.com/Shoemcfly

So, in a comparison of the two true green snakes, the rough green snake is the largest in the world at 116 cm (46 inches)! Let’s look at other snakes around the world that are green.

South American Green Snake (Green Vine Snake, Flatbread snake)

The South American green snake is another long skinny green snake with a green back and yellow belly. They can be found in Central America and northern South America. Like the Rough green snake they are arboreal (live mostly in trees) and are quite well camouflaged. If you had the two species next to each other they would be easy to tell apart because the South American one has a long narrow snout that comes almost to a point. They are venomous but not harmful to humans. Their rear fangs require that the snake has to bite and chew their victim to deliver the venom. They prey on small animals like mice, rodents and lizards. They get to be 1.5-2 m (59-79 in) so quite a bit larger than the North American green snakes!

African Green Snakes (Philothamnus)

There are actually 24 species of snakes that belong to the Philothamnus family of green snakes in Africa, mostly in the sub-Saharan part of Africa. The most common green snake in Africa, though, is the spotted bush snake.

One of the most common green snakes in Africa is the Spotted bush snake. Most are 60-80 cm but some have reached 1.3 m!

©/Shutterstock.com

  • Spotted Bush snakes are the most common green snake in the southern countries of Africa. They are also tree snakes but can also be found in the ceilings of buildings! Their backs are bright green and covered in black spots. They can get to be 60-80 cm (24-31 inches) with the largest ones getting to be 1.3 m (51 inches). So larger than the North American green snakes but not the South American.

Australian Green Snake

green snake in a tree
Australian Green snakes (or Tree snakes) can get to be 1.64 m (64 inches) long.

©samray/Shutterstock.com

The Australian green snake is recognized by its long green body and large yellow eyes. They are found in many areas in Australia with large populations along the northern and eastern coastal areas. Either they can be found slithering along in tall grasses or maneuvering through trees. They are common in urban and suburban areas as well making themselves comfortable in people’s backyards and gardens. Not only are they are a long and skinny but they have an enormously long tail. They get to be  1.64 m (64 inches) long but around 16 inches of that is tail! These snakes are non-venomous and harmless to humans.

Asian Vine Snake

A bright, neon green Asian vine snake flicks its tongue
Asian vine snakes have yellow eyes with a keyhole pupil. They can get to be 6 feet long!

©Ryan M. Bolton/Shutterstock.com

The Asian vine snake (sometimes called an Asian whip snake) are found in many areas in southeast Asia, India, China and  Sri Lanka. These long skinny green snakes have a very distinguishing eye that sets them apart from the other green snakes on our list. Their eyes are oval shaped but the pupil of their eye is keyhole shaped! They are known to have excellent binocular vision. These snakes live in rainforests, up in the trees and can get to be 1.8 m (6 feet long) although 2 feet of that is tail! They are a little larger than the Australian green snake.

European Aesculapian Snake

aesculapian snake
Aesculapian snakes live in central Europe and can be a faded green to blend in with the coloration of the trees and vegetation.

©GGRIGOROV/Shutterstock.com

When you think of Europe you do not think of rainforests but there are some green snakes that don’t prefer the trees in rainforests. They actually prefer mild temperatures (not too hot) and medium moisture (not too wet). They live in the central European countries like France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and over to western Ukraine. The Aesculapian snakes can be green or shades of olive to brown. They are actually one of the largest species of snakes in Europe. They can get to be 110-160 cm (43-63 inches) long with the largest one ever recorded being 225 cm (89 inches!).

The Largest Green Snake in the World is the Green Anaconda!

green anaconda
The Green Anaconda is the largest green snake in the world. It is the heaviest with some weighing as much as 500 pounds.

©Patrick K. Campbell/Shutterstock.com

When we look at all the snakes in the world that are green, the Green Anaconda is by far the largest green snake in the world. Very different than the typical skinny green snakes we’ve discussed thus far, the Green Anaconda is a huge, thick snake. They have a base color of green with black splotches all along their back. Most are around 16 feet long but the longest recorded one ever recorded was 27 ft 9 in. According to the Guinness Book of World Records this snake was shot in Brazil and was 27 ft 9 in and weighed 500 pounds! Now that is a huge green snake!

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green snake hanging from tree
green snake hanging from tree
© iStock.com/Handini_Atmodiwiryo

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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