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Biological Survey

Herping the Siouxland

Green Snake: (Opheodrys vernalis) This is the most tragic and heart breaking snake story of all. These beautiful little snakes were quite common all across the state not too long ago. However, because of the massive use of pesticides in the last few decades their numbers have been decimated! Adults only grow to about 15-20 inches long and they eat nothing but soft-bodied Insects. (Caterpillars, Spiders, Crickets and small Grasshoppers are about the only thing they consume) There are still isolated colonies of these snakes still barely hanging on in scattered areas where the poisonous vapors have not yet wiped them out. I've only seen them in the glacial hills region of Pope County, but had to travel to the prairie highlands of north eastern South Dakota to find a thriving population. (And the locals there say they don't see nearly as many as they used to)

Green Snakes are extremely hard to see in the grassy meadows where they live. And they are fast moving little snakes, too being extremely hard to catch! They lay 3-15 eggs in the early summer. They are  only 4-5 inches long upon hatching and brown in color. An odd thing happens after they die: Their bodies gradually lose the green coloration and turn blue! (I've seen this in specimens that were killed on busy roads and hiways.) Unfortunately, this is about the only way you'll ever see any of these tiny emerald creatures.                                                                       

Green Snakes should be the "Poster Child" of organic farmers and gardeners. If you still have these living jewels near proud! For it is proof that your little corner of the world is still relatively clean and healthy.                     
  We would really like to find thriving populations Anywhere in SW Minnesota. During the Bio Survey 2006 one of these was found in a drift-fence in Lyon County. (And the locals say they are still occasionally seen) So they are still out there. Please...Watch for them! And let us know when you find one.     

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