Northern Rough Greensnake #24-1920

June 6, 2024
June 21, 2024
Rescue Location
Chesterfield County
Cause of Admission/Condition
Eye injury
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated

On June 6, a good samaritan from Chesterfield County discovered a Northern Rough Greensnake on the road. While it was not entirely unusual to see a snake on the road, the snake's unusually enlarged eye raised alarm bells for this rescuer. The snake's concerning appearance led the rescuer to contain it and bring it to the Wildlife Center the following day.

A Rough Greensnake on a orange-brown towel.Upon examination, the Center's veterinary team found the snake's eye swollen and bulging from its natural position. The staff suspected that the snake had been hit by a car and determined that the snake had not only suffered damage to its eye but likely experienced severe head trauma as well. The vet staff proceeded with an eye enucleation, a procedure in which the entire eyeball is removed, but the socket and muscles behind the eye remain. The snake was also started on a course of fluids and pain medication.

In the following days, vet staff monitored the snake's attitude, hydration, and surgery site for any signs of infection or inflammation. Additionally, the extent of head trauma is not always clear on the first day an animal is admitted, so it was also monitored for any neurological symptoms. However, the snake's surgery site was determined to be healed on June 19, and it never exhibited any signs of neurological damage. By June 21, the snake was cleared for release, and its original rescuer released it back where it was found.

Unlike many other animals, snakes can survive in the wild without perfect vision. This is because snakes have poor vision to begin with, but this is made up for by their incredibly strong sense of smell. As long as a snake's mouth and tongue are not inhibited, it can generally live in the wild without one of its eyes.

If you ever find a snake that you suspect is sick or injured, you can call the Wildlife Center or check our help & advice page for guidance on what to do.