On one of his regular dog walks through Jiggers Bank, Chris Smith spotted this grass snake just off the path, he was lucky enough to get a photo of this beautiful reptile and brought the photo into the office so that he could confirm what sort of snake it was.
Reaching nearly two metres, grass snakes are the UK’s largest reptile and our only snake to lay eggs. It is identified by its olive green body and darkish spots or streaks on the flanks. . Grass snakes have a distinctive yellow and black collar behind the head and have round pupils.
They can often be confused with the adder which has a more thick-set body and a distinct zigzag down its back, and it also has a vertically slit pupil. The adder is venomous, whereas the grass snake is not. Adders are rarely found in gardens.
A grass snake’s speed and wariness makes it incredibly difficult to spot, but once cornered it is one of the few animals that play dead as a defence against predators If this ploy fails, a foul-smelling substance from the anus and repeated head strikes are employed to aid the escape. Grass snakes are active predators themselves of frogs and toads. Common and widespread in the UK, grass snakes are usually to be found near water where there is plenty of shelter and warm morning sunshine for basking in. They hibernate during the cooler winter months.