Rough Green Snake Encounter at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

Today’s photo features a lucky encounter with a Rough Green Snake at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma! I wasn’t the only one fortunate enough to spot this emerald beauty – wildlife photography buddy Charles Vann also stopped his truck to get some photos.

A Rough Green Snake Crosses the Road
A Rough Green Snake Crosses the Road

Getting a clear photo proved a bit tricky at first. The late morning sun had heated the asphalt, causing some focus issues with my camera. Thankfully, this patient snake seemed unbothered by our presence and allowed me to get close enough for a crisp shot.

One interesting thing I noticed was the snake’s habit of extending its tongue for what seemed like extended periods. This, according to my research, might be a defensive behavior. When threatened, a Rough Green Snake will flick out its tongue and leave it extended to “taste” the air, potentially sampling for predator scents before deciding to flee or stay put.

While Rough Green Snakes are primarily arboreal (meaning they spend most of their time in trees and bushes), there are several reasons why one might find itself on a road or open area:

  1. Food Hunt: These emerald hunters target insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. If their usual buffet in the foliage runs low, they might venture across a road in search of a more plentiful hunting ground.
  2. Love is in the Air: During breeding season, male Rough Green Snakes become little Romeo’s, expanding their range to track down potential mates. This can lead them to areas they’d normally avoid, like roads and open spaces.
  3. Branching Out: Juvenile snakes eventually disperse from their birthplace, and reaching new territories often requires traversing open areas and roads.
  4. Habitat Hustle: Unfortunately, storms, fires, and human development can disrupt a snake’s home. When their usual habitat gets disturbed or destroyed, Rough Green Snakes may be forced to seek refuge in atypical areas, including roads.
  5. Sun-Sational Basking: On cooler days, these snakes might bask on sun-warmed surfaces like roads to regulate their body temperature before retreating back to the comfort of their leafy homes.

So, while they prefer the arboreal life, Rough Green Snakes will venture out onto roads and open areas when necessary. Whether it’s to find a tasty snack, meet a potential mate, disperse to new territories, escape a disrupted habitat, or simply bask in the warm sun, these adaptable reptiles prove there’s more to them than meets the eye (or should I say tongue?).

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