Smooth Green Snake (Liochlorophis vernalis or Opheodrys vernalis)(a.k.a. Grass Snake)
Believe it or not, green snakes can be great to have around. After all, they love to eat insects! But when their numbers get too high, or they move inside our homes, often something must be done. Here’s what you need to know when dealing with a possible smooth green snake on your property.
This is a slender, bright green snake, with a whitish or yellowish belly and no markings. It reaches only 14-26 inches in adulthood. Juveniles are olive or blue-gray in color, with no patterning. They’re sometimes mistaken as racer snakes, but while juvenile racers are a similar color and size, they have mottled patterning.
Smooth green snakes are widespread throughout the northern states of the eastern and Midwestern US, with scattered populations in the western US and Texas. Green snakes rarely bite, and are harmless to humans. If you’re ever bitten by a smooth green snake, make sure to get it checked out. Smooth green snakes are not venomous, but with any wild animal bite there’s a risk of infection.
Smooth green snakes like to spend their time in pretty much any area with a good layer of green stuff on the ground – they blend in well, and there are more insects there for them to hunt. So if you live by an area with fields, meadows, bogs or marshes, or open woodlands, you may have these snakes as a neighbor. Fortunately, they’re doing their part to keep the insect population down. Prey for green snakes include crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, spiders, centipedes and millipedes.
The smooth green snake spends its winters below the frost line in loose soils, frequently in ant hills. In warmer weather, it’s active during the day. It can climb trees, but prefers to stay close to the ground, where it can blend in with vegetation.
Unfortunately, smooth green snake populations are declining. In several states, they have protected status. If you have many green snakes on your property, take care that any snake control company you call can provide appropriate snake control measures for your state.
Smooth Green Snake Control
There are several steps to dealing with snake problems: making your property less inviting to snakes, and dealing with any snakes that are already there.
In wooded, rural and riparian settings where snakes are common, their presence can be discouraged by eliminating stands of tall vegetation and removing piles of rock, lumber, and debris that might attract snakes to search for prey or shelter. Closing all entrances to rodent burrows make an area less attractive to snakes.
Smooth Green Snake Exclusion
Structural gaps and crevices larger than 1/4 inch and within three feet of grade should be closed off as snakes can pass through very small openings. Screens on crawlspace vents should have mesh smaller than 1/4 inch. A thorough search should be made for cracks in the foundation, unscreened crawlspace vents, torn screens, and gaps around basement window frames. Check clearances under doors; seal any gaps with weatherstripping. Look for improper sealing where plumbing and utility lines penetrate the foundation of the building.
Smooth Green Snake Removal
If you’re confident that you do indeed have a smooth green snake in your house, and you want to deal with it yourself, try this: place a trashcan on the side of the snake, and use a broom or a similar tool to gently sweep it inside the trashcan. Relocate it well away from residential areas, and seal up any openings in your house where it can get back in. Check with your state’s fish and wildlife department on laws surrounding the relocation of snakes beforehand, though.
If you have any doubt about which kind of snake you have, or if you suspect several, a call to a snake control company is warranted. A good snake control company will be able to help correctly identify your snakes, advise you on further steps to take to minimize the number of snakes that move onto your property and how to keep them out of your home, will be able to present you with trapping and removal options, will be knowledgeable of all local and state laws regarding the animals, and will carry all required licenses.