Can you help me solve yet ANOTHER mystery ?!?!

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
User avatar
ahockenberry
Posts: 362
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:46 am
Contact:

Can you help me solve yet ANOTHER mystery ?!?!

Post by ahockenberry » June 17th, 2013, 10:29 am

Hi folks

Sorry to keep coming back for insights - but I do not know where else to go.

I have been traveling over literally hundreds of kilometers of snake habitat, flipped thousands of rocks,
boards, and looked throughout lots of very good spots - meadows, fields, rocky outcrops, forested areas, lakes, streams,
marshes, hillsides- and have found lots of snakes which are indigenous to the area, which are the usual suspects -
Garters, Ribbons, Water snakes, Ring Necked, Milk Snakes, Eastern Massasauga, Northern Redbelly - but have NEVER found a
single Smooth Green Snake.

This species is listed to be present in southern and central Ontario as a "common" species. I have to beg to differ after my
experiences because I have yet to find one.

There are 3 things which I am thinking of which may account for my experience;

1.) I have been reading that the Smooth Green Snake has suffered significant habitat loss due to the expansion of Agriculture and the
use of pesticides. I read that the state of Illinois had actually started a breeding program to "re-populate" them into the state:

http://www.lpzoo.org/conservation-scien ... reen-snake

2.) I am also reading that they are found almost exclusively around or near water- so maybe I should focus more of my attention there.

3.) I understand that the Smooth Green is an arboreal species, so perhaps I am wasting my time looking for them on the ground - especially
in upland habitat among granite rocks with moss and lichens. It seems they would need a more moist area?

I would also really appreciate hearing from anyone who has a similar climate - Ontario, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc

Thanks in advance for your help -
Ashley

User avatar
Andy Avram
Posts: 897
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:37 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Can you help me solve yet ANOTHER mystery ?!?!

Post by Andy Avram » June 17th, 2013, 10:54 am

Welcome to my experience with Smooth Green Snakes. Their range covers a substantial portion of Ohio and to date I have only found them at 2 locations where there are known to be fairly large numbers (for a total of <10 individuals). I cannot find them in my county, or any surrounding, even though they are known to be widespread in the area, just uncommon. All of those I have seen have been found on the crawl, either crossing dirt roads, getting lucky and seeing them in the grass, or one unique situation where they can be observed crossing a boardwalk.

Both areas I have personally seen them are wet areas, but I think they are associating less with the water and more with the open areas that are thickly vegetated.

Lastly, they are not arboreal, they are as terrestrial as a garter snake, meaning you may find one basking in the bushes, but they certainly are not spending huge amounts of time in the branches. Keep looking down.

Now, so areas of this country they can be readily found, like the mountains of PA, but really any year I find a Smooth Green is a highlight in my book.
Andy

User avatar
Jon Wedow
Posts: 201
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 6:38 am
Location: Canada

Re: Can you help me solve yet ANOTHER mystery ?!?!

Post by Jon Wedow » June 17th, 2013, 12:19 pm

Look for grassy clearings in low lying forest which does not flood. If it floods the vegetation will probably not be right. I think grass, moisture and insects are probably the main factors. Instead of looking for rock to flip look for grassy areas with more soil, and keep scanning the ground on cool days. Keep an eye out for lots of crickets, grasshoppers, etc... Places to start may be hydrocuts, road edges, etc... And you won't want to look too far from water, not so much that they will use the water body but they seem to like it kind of cool and the moisture will naturally be more favourable for the grasses, snakes, eggs, (also the fresh constant growth of vegetation for the insects to eat) They seem to like areas that get a fair amount of sun but don't ever really dry out. I think they are very habitat specific but in the right habitat their populations seem to explode. Hope that helps!

User avatar
Gluesenkamp
Posts: 290
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 6:57 am
Location: Texas

Re: Can you help me solve yet ANOTHER mystery ?!?!

Post by Gluesenkamp » June 17th, 2013, 12:47 pm

I'd love to find one down here in TX. I'm about ready to scratch them off the list with an big "EX".

User avatar
ahockenberry
Posts: 362
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:46 am
Contact:

Re: Can you help me solve yet ANOTHER mystery ?!?!

Post by ahockenberry » June 17th, 2013, 12:53 pm

Thanks guys - much appreciated !
John - appreciate it buddy - I going to come down your way some time !

Regards
Ashley

User avatar
muskiemagnet
Posts: 1253
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 7:43 am
Location: kaukauna, wi

Re: Can you help me solve yet ANOTHER mystery ?!?!

Post by muskiemagnet » June 17th, 2013, 3:30 pm

hit or miss. my guess is that it is a "locally abundant" animal. some areas may have them, some may not. find the right habitat with RR tracks and you may be in luck. flip everything along the tracks. i mean everything. they like even the smallest of debris. not too late in the day either. earlier morning is my suggestion. overcast is best. you want wisconsin, that's where i call home. greens are awesome.

-ben

User avatar
Chris Smith
Posts: 2340
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:13 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Can you help me solve yet ANOTHER mystery ?!?!

Post by Chris Smith » June 17th, 2013, 5:56 pm

Smooth Greensnakes are locally abundant at some sites in MN. They are much more wide-spread and abundant in ND (including in agricultural areas). We do typically find them within eye-sight of water but not always. We often find them under cover (natural and AC). They are also frequently found AOR or DOR (and frequently found in ditches).

At one of the spots in MN, we walk the circumference of a wetland about 10-20 feet from the edge. They are tough to spot, and even harder to catch in tall grass.

Here is a mating pair found on a ND roadway:
Image

Another ND example (in shed) flipped in riprap (rock) around a small lake (also within the public road right-of-way).
Image

-Chris

P.s. We have a few study sites that we have been visiting for 4-5 years (looking for herps) and have turned up 1-2 greensnakes in that time (it is interesting that they seem to randomly pop-up after so many years of surveys at a given site)

Post Reply