Didn’t know you could see snakes right here in the UK?

Grass Snake © G Breadmore

Britain's longest snake, the grass snake, can exceed a metre in length (reaching maximum length of around 180cm in some cases!). The species is typically grey-green in colour and has a distinctive yellow and black collar around the neck, with black markings along the length of the body.

Not as rare as you might think, one of our volunteer surveyors happily stumbled across this beast basking in the sun, whilst carrying out a water vole survey in Berkshire!

Average lifespan: 15-25 years

Feed on: amphibians, fish, small mammals and birds

When to see: April to October

Look in: wetland habitats such as lakes and rivers, but also in grasslands, open woodlands and in gardens, especially those that contain a pond.

Grass snakes lack venom and instead defend themselves by secreting a foul-smelling musk from their anal glands. If this doesn’t scare off predators, they will also play dead. This behaviour is known as thanatosis.

Grass snakes begin hibernation from October and will typically emerge in either March or April (depending on the weather).

So, if you want to spot one by the end of the year, get out now to your local reptile-friendly patch! And don't forget, if you spot one, don't forget to share your records and photos with us! By letting TVERC know what you have seen you will help protect and improve your local environment by increasing the quality and quantity of data we hold. 

Absence records are also very useful, so also let us know if you’ve been out and haven’t seen anything!

Your records can inform a variety of exciting biodiversity projects and help people make informed decisions about how to develop and manage land sustainably. We are a ‘not for profit’ organisation so rely on valuable help from skilled volunteers to improve our database.

Posted: September 23, 2020