Discover the Largest Rough Green Snake Ever Recorded

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: April 9, 2023
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Key Points:

  • Rough green snakes are long, skinny, green snakes with rough scales that live in trees close to a water source.
  • Whenever green snakes are approached, they sometimes raise the front of their bodies and sway back and forth to make it look like they are a tree branch blowing in the wind!
  • The largest rough green snake ever recorded was 46 inches long – 20 inches longer than the longest smooth green snake.

There are two green snake species in the genus of Opheodrys; the North American green snake, the rough green, and the smooth green snake. Rough green snakes have a rough texture to their scales and are larger than smooth green snakes. But just how large do they get? Hang on as we reveal the largest rough green snake ever recorded.

What is a rough green snake?

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The average length of a rough green snake is 14-33 inches.

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©samray/Shutterstock.com

Rough green snakes are bright green, and they look like a whip! They are long and about as skinny as a pencil. Their scales are rough, with the ridges visible compared to the smooth green snake, which has very smooth scales. The tail of the rough green snake gradually gets thinner, with the tip coming to a point. Their average length is 14-33 inches (35-82 cm).

The rough green snake prefers to live on tree tops since their green bodies allow them to blend in nicely with the leaves. One interesting fact is that if green snakes are approached, they may freeze or raise the front of their bodies and sway back and forth to make it look like they are a tree branch blowing in the wind!

Where do rough green snakes live?

Rough green snakes can be found in the southern half of the United States due to their high preference for warm climates. They live in hardwood forests, dune meadows, and along the coasts. It is common to find them in trees near a water source like marshlands, wetlands, and ponds.

What is the record for the largest rough green?

rough green snake on rocks

The largest rough green snake ever recorded was 46 inches long.

©iStock.com/Shoemcfly

According to the University of Florida, Florida Museum, the largest rough green snake ever recorded was 46 inches (116cm) long! Can you imagine a green snake reaching more than 3 ½ feet?

Rough green snakes and smooth green snakes; similar?

Smooth green snakes look very similar, but their scales are smoother. They are also smaller, with an average smooth green snake reaching up to 15-20 inches.

What is the largest smooth green snake ever recorded?

A smooth green snake on dead leaves

If green snakes are approached, they may freeze or raise the front of their bodies and sway back and forth.

©iStock.com/tamers1

The largest smooth green snake was 26 inches (66cm) long. So that would make it 20 inches shorter than the largest rough green snake.

What is the largest snake in the world?

green anaconda

Green anacondas are the largest snakes in the world, with some being 28 feet and weighing 550 pounds.

©Patrick K. Campbell/Shutterstock.com

The largest snake in the world is the green anaconda. The green anaconda can grow up to 28 feet and weigh more than 550 pounds. Reticulated pythons are the longest snake in the world and can reach lengths of 30 feet or more. Both snakes are heavy-bodied, especially when compared to the skinny rough green snake. Green Anacondas, for example, can have a diameter of up to 12 inches.

How large are green snakes in other parts of the world?

Australia

The green snakes in Australia are often called tree snakes and have a very similar appearance to the rough green snake. They are long, skinny, and green with big, round yellow eyes. Tree snakes are larger than rough greens and can reach 64 inches (1.64m) when mature. They are found in Australia’s northern and eastern areas, especially along the coast. You may even find one in your backyard or garden, as they are common in urban and suburban communities.

Africa

The most common green snake in

Africa

is the spotted bush snake.

©/Shutterstock.com

The spotted bush snake is Africa’s most common green snake, although there are 24 different green snake species. The spotted bush snake is a green snake with black spots, which also lives in trees. A large percentage of spotted bush snakes live in sub-Saharan Africa, and this is due to their skin’s unique ability to manage the heat in the environment. The largest spotted bush snake is 51 inches (1.3m), so 5 inches longer than the largest rough green snake. An average spotted bush snake is closer to 24-31 inches (60-80cm).

Asia

In southeast Asia, China, and India, green snakes are called vine snakes or Asian whip snakes. The longest snakes have been reported to reach lengths of up to 6 feet (1.8m)! If you get close enough to one, you will see their oval eyes with a uniquely shaped (keyhole) pupil. Vine snakes live in rainforests and are also arboreal snakes.

South America

Green Vine Snake

The venom from a flatbread snake is not harmful to humans.

©Ferdy Timmerman/Shutterstock.com

South America’s flatbread snake (green vine snake) is just a tad larger than the vine snakes in Asia, with the largest reaching 6 ½ feet (2m). They look very similar to the rough green snake until you see their head. Flatbread snakes have a long pointed snout, almost forming a triangle. While rough green snakes are not venomous, flatbread snakes are venomous but not harmful to humans.

Europe

Even longer than the vine snakes are the European aesculapian snakes. They are not bright green but more of an olive, but they are larger than all the other green snake species. They average 43-63 inches (110-160cm), with the largest Aesculapian ever recorded being 89 inches (225cm) which is 7.4 feet long.

Antarctica

Did you know there are no snakes in Antarctica? The ground stays frozen year-round in Antarctica, so there is no place for snakes to hibernate or brumate (a kind of hibernation). To put it plainly, it’s too cold for snakes.

What is the smallest rough green snake?

Green rough snake babies emerging from eggs

The smallest ones are about the same size as a pencil, 7-8 inches long.

©Stuart Hamilton/Shutterstock.com

The smallest rough green snakes are baby snakes. When rough green snakes hatch, they are only 7-8 inches long. In comparison, pencils are 7 ½ inches long. The female typically lays around 2-14 eggs, with the eggs hatching in July or August. The females do not take care of their young, which is common for snakes. The babies are born with all the skills they need to survive independently and possibly become the next largest rough green snake ever recorded!

Other Record-Breaking Snakes

corn snake wrapped around branch of tree

Like rough green snakes, corn snakes are native to the southeastern United States.


©iStock.com/bugphai

Now that we have learned about rough green snakes, let us discover the corn snake, a bright orange-red beauty native to the southeastern United States. Sometimes called “red rat snakes,” these reptiles are often mistaken for the venomous copperhead – which shares the coloring of the corn snake in much more muted, autumnal shades that blend with fallen leaves. It’s a horrible case of mistaken identity – because corn snakes are calm, docile, non-venoumous, and completely harmless to humans. They are very popular pets and come in a wide range of colors when acquired through reputable breeders.

Corn snakes in the wild tend to live near agricultural fields and in barns near grain storage where they prey on mice and rats. Most corn snakes are around 48 inches long but some have grown to be much larger. How much larger? The largest corn snake ever recorded was longer than 60 inches! Read the next post to find out exactly how big the record-breaking corn snake measured.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Shoemcfly

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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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