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Rough and Smooth Green Snakes – Beautiful Insect-Eaters for Planted Terrariums – Part 2

Smooth green snakePlease see Part 1 of this article for more on the natural history and care of Rough and Smooth Green Snakes (Opheodrys aestivus and O. vernalis).


An ambient temperature of 70-76 F is ideal.  A basking site of 80-85F should be available as well.


There is some evidence that, in contrast to most snakes, Green Snakes benefit from exposure to UVB light.  A moderate-output bulb, such as the Zoo Med 2.0 should be provided.

As with most diurnal animals, Green Snakes will also benefit from the provision of a UVA-emitting bulb (incandescent UVA bulbs will also provide heat for the basking site).


Green Snakes are more difficult to provide for than typical rodent-eating species, but well worth the effort.  Those who do well with these snakes have one thing in common – they consistently provide a highly-varied diet.  Green Snakes will not thrive for long on crickets alone…during times when they are a mainstay, crickets themselves be well-fed before being offered to the snakes.

Wild-caught grasshoppers, smooth (non-hairy) caterpillars, moths, crickets, tree crickets, katydids, beetle grubs and harvestman (“daddy longlegs”) should comprise the bulk of Green Snake diets whenever possible.  They take a great many spiders as well, but I hesitate to recommend collecting these to folks unfamiliar with potentially dangerous species.

Other commercially available insects that can be tried include roach nymphs, waxworms, newly-molted (white) mealworms and super mealworms, butter worms and silkworms.  Canned silkworms may also offered via feeding tongs, but many Green Snakes are reluctant to feed in this manner.

Green Snakes have high metabolisms and should be fed 3-4 times weekly; in contrast to most snakes, they decline rapidly in condition if not fed often.

Drinking water is essential – more so than for most snakes.  A water bowl should always be present, but some individuals will drink only from drops sprayed onto leaves and branches.



Further Reading

Green Snake fans usually favor Garter Snakes as well; please see Meet the Garter Snakes for more info.

Further natural history information may be found in this article.

Learn more about collecting insects here: Collecting Insects

Smooth Green Snake image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by atrahamrepol and Ravedave


  1. avatar

    I just got a smooth green tree snake the other day, it had been eating only crickets with no UVB. Your list of good feeder insects is going to be very helpful in ensuring this snake stays alive!

    • avatar

      Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog and the kind words. Toads are very aware of their surroundings and so it was likely exploring – they are quite bold (seems they “know” they are protected by skin toxins) and so usually calm down quickly.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

      • avatar

        Hello Danielle, Frank Indiviglio here.

        Thanks very much for the kind words! Enjoy your snake and please let me know if I can be of any further help.

        Good luck and please keep me posted.

        Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  2. avatar

    Hello I recently started keeping a rough green snake. Right now I’m feeding him every other day but how much should I be giving him exactly? Hard to tell how much is enough since he’s different from most snakes as well as lizards. Also how do I provide him with water? Would a bowl be adequate?

    • avatar

      Hello Jake,

      Every other day is generally fine, but feeding is affected by type of food, temperature, age, etc. But within reason, they are good at regulating metabolism to meet food availability; pl feel free to send more details re diet etc.

      Sray tank daily…it will drink a bit that way, but provide a water bowl as well. best, Frank

About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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