Yellow and green snakes are found all over the world and most likely have their coloring because they're found in grass or in trees, where green and yellow would be a camouflage. Many of them are nonvenomous, though the boomslang is one of the few venomous colubrid snakes.
Garter snakes are the most common type of snake in North America. They are 18 to 44 inches long and live in meadows, hillsides, forests, marshlands and gardens from southern Canada across the United States and into Mexico. They have keeled scales (having a ridge down the center) and are very commonly green with a yellow belly or yellow stripes. Garter snakes are nonvenomous and eat earthworms, insects, toads, salamanders and small animals or birds. They even eat fish, crayfish or frogs if they can catch them. They might breed in April or May and the young, about 25 of them, are born alive three months later. They make good pets, though when they're captured in the wild they might excrete a foul liquid from anal glands.
Opheodrys are the green snakes. They are 15-inch-long snakes, bright green with a yellow belly, that are quite common but inconspicuous because of their color. They're found in fields and marshes in the United States and southern Canada and eat spiders and insects. The male rough green snake reaches sexual maturity at 21 months, while the female takes 21 to 33 months to mature. This snake mates in the spring and gestation takes about 5 to 12 weeks, after which the female lays a small number of eggs in July or August. Because most of the development took place before the eggs were laid, it's only a few days before the young hatch. They're usually about 4 1/2 inches long.
The boomslang, which is the only species in the genus Dispholidus, is found on the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. It's an arboreal species, which means it lives mostly in trees. However, it can come to the ground to hunt and sun itself. The males are green with a yellow underside and black-edged scales and is so well camouflaged in the trees that birds have been known to perch on it. Its average length is about 5 feet. The female lays from 8 to 25 eggs usually in the hollow of a tree or in leaf litter. The young snakes hatch about 70 to 100 days later. It can be a dangerous snake to human beings but is timid and would rather flee than bite. It eats tree-dwelling lizards, specifically chameleons. The boomslang will hold the prey in its mouth till it's dead, which can be as long as an hour.
This is a species of tree boa found in tropical South America. It's arboreal and has a prehensile tail. As adults, emerald tree boas are brilliant emerald green with white spots and yellow bellies. They rest in an interesting coiled position on the top of branches with the head tucked within its coils. This posture makes them almost impossible to see among the tree leaves. Emerald tree boas eat mostly birds, squirrels and iguanas. They have highly developed front teeth for a nonvenomous snake. Emerald tree boas give birth to 5 to 12 young at a time, and breed every other year. The breeding season is between April and July, which would be late winter and early spring in the tropics.
- "Snakes of the World"; John Stidworthy; 1983
- "Reptiles and Amphibians"; Herbert S. Zim, Ph.D.; 1956
- Animal Diversity Web; Opheodrys aestivus; Kaelin Creange; 2011
- Animal Diversity Web; Corallus caninus; Drew Paulette; 2008
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
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