Reptile-Amphibian #13 — Smooth Green Snake

opheodrys vernalis

Monday, October 2, 2006 — 11:15 am

Moraine Hills State Park, Illinois

I walked about six miles, stopping only once to look at birds. Most of the time I walked fast and watched the trail because that’s where things were happening today. I saw 27 snakes, 16 Brown Snakes, four Red-bellied Snakes, six Garter Snakes and this Smooth Green Snake. Most of them were sunning on the gravel path or crawling across it. The Brown Snakes mostly laid still, then coiled and pretended to be mean. The Garter Snakes took off like blazes. The Reb-bellies were all very small, like worms, but moved fast.

The Smooth Green Snake was half in the grass, half on the gravel path on the rise above where the path goes under the road. It was on the river side. It was lying motionlessly when I first saw it, but as soon as I got close it turned and dashed for the tall grass. I tried to step in front of it to stop it, but it veered off and was gone in a split second.

It was bright, light green, very slender (about the size of a pencil), with the head no thicker than the body. I didn’t see the entire thing at once, but I’d guess it was about a foot and a half long.

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