Smooth Greensnake

Green snake on rock (1 of 1)

Smooth Greensnake

One of the most beautiful of all our snakes, it appears to be more common as one leaves the lowlands of the Connecticut River Valley and moves towards the Berkshire Plateau and into the Taconics. It’s likely they were once found in every town in Western Massachusetts. However, their population status in the entire state is unclear; report any observations—they were once considered common in some places such as Nantucket!

If you spend time picking lowbush blueberries in late summer you are likely to encounter a Greensnake. They are, as you can imagine, ridiculously difficult to detect in the fields, upland meadows, and rocky slopes where they prefer to live. My first excursion after gaining my drivers license was to travel to Greylock in search of a Greensnake. It was successful and I was impressed not only by its color but also the snake’s ability to hold on with a prehensile tail.

A few years ago, a Greensnake I was detaining for an upcoming presentation deposited eggs in early September. I had only found her about 10 days earlier and it appears that, unlike most oviparous snakes, Greensnakes retain their eggs and deposit them just a few days before they hatch. Actual data on number of eggs, mating season(s), nesting sites, and hatching success are lacking for this species in Western Massachusetts.

Green snake and babies (1 of 1)

Smooth Greensnake with new hatchlings (note color difference)

  © Tom Tyning 2013