Smooth Green Snake

Opheodrys vernalis

This small, nonvenomous snake is Minnesota's only green snake. It is also known as a grass snake.


General description: This snake's most obvious defining trait is its bright green color. A few individuals are light brown instead of green. True to its name, it has smooth scales.

Size: The smooth green snake is about 1 to 2 feet long.

Color: Green with a yellow or off-white underside.


Smooth green snakes mate in the spring. The female lays 3 to 11 eggs. How long the female waits to lay her eggs varies, however. Sometimes the eggs actually hatch before they are laid. The young are about 4 inches long.


Smooth green snakes eat mostly insects and spiders.


Birds of prey, various mammals, other snakes.

Smooth Green Snake

Habitat and range

Smooth green snakes are found in open areas where grass and shrubs are found. When threatened, they may retreat into grass to hide. They spend their winters hibernating in the ground, in ant mounds, or in rock crevices.

Population and management

The smooth green snake does not have protected status in Minnesota.

Fun facts

The smooth green snake turns blue after it dies. The reason for this is that the green in its body is made up of a combination of blue and yellow. After death the yellow pigment fades quickly, leaving only blue behind.

Smooth green snake range map

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