Are grass snakes dangerous?

The grass snake (Natrix natrix) also called the ringed snake or even just water snake is a non-venomous snake found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. They can survive in habitats in diverse altitudes and environments and are a species.

The several subspecies of bud snake are frequently distributed in mainland Europe, which range from southern Scandinavia to southern Italy and west in the Iberian peninsula to the west so much as the Lake Baikal in Russia. These snakes can also be found in the Middle East and temperate Africa.

Grass snakes also inhabit lowland regions of Great Britain, being commonly found in south east and southeast of England. It’s far more rare in central Wales and absent in Scotland and absent from Ireland, according to the legend Saint Patrick expelled all snakes in Ireland.

The grass snake preferred habitats include woodlands, grasslands, fields, and marshes preferably near water sources such as lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. These snakes are extremely good swimmers frequently seen on the water with their head of the water, but they’re also able to dive and hold their breath for 30 or 20 minutes. In addition they move fast.

Grass snakes are generally dark green, olive-green, brown or grayish in colour, in colder regions of the range they’re generally darker which helps them thermoregulate. They’ve a varying row of darker stripes across the sides and occasionally a row of smaller curved markers is also present across the back.

The belly is off-white, light or yellow in color covered with dark irregular, triangular or rectangular markers. Occasionally entirely white (albino) or black (melanistic) specimens are located.

The grass snake comes with a characteristic white, yellow, orange or red collar just behind your head. That has earned them their other alternative common name of”ringed snake”, in french”Couleuvre à collier” or Spanish”Culebra de Collar” and”Cobra-de-água-de-colar” in Portuguese. Even so in certain people, this”collar” could be absent.

Both genders are generally very similar in look, though grass snake females are extremely often substantially larger in both girth and length, males, on the flip side, have longer tails with a swelling at its base.

Girls can grow up to 2 m but on average achieve 90 to 110 cms, whereas males reach a maximum period of approximately 80 cm with a mean of 60 cm.

Their name,”Grass snake” can also be utilised in North America however to identify two other totally unrelated species that the rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) and the smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis).

Can grass snakes bite you?

These small non-venomous are defenseless and employ a variety of tactics to prevent predators. They may generate a foul smelling fluid, or feign death, placing on a show including becoming totally limp placing on their back, using open mouth, a twisted mind, and their tongue sticking out. This is a behavior similar to that of different snakes species such as the north western Eastern hognose (Heterodon platirhinos).

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They may also sometimes secrete blood from their nose and mouth. But if all fails they attempt to bluff their way out, puffing while hitting with a closed mouth and doing an aggressive display by hissing loudly.

Grass snakes rarely sting in self-defence. They will often regurgitate any food present if picked .

They usually really do fall prey to many different predators like corvids, owls, storks, and probably other creatures of prey but also mammals like foxes, badgers or domestic cats. Their lifespan in the wild is estimated at 15 years.

The grass snake is really a diurnal creature being active throughout the afternoon, sometimes seen basking on trees in the lower branches or in a trunk . The grass snakes usually do hibernate during the winter rainy weather , typically from September or even October till April or March, with piles of rock fissures, stones , mulch piles or other decomposing vegetation.

What does grass snake eat?

The grass snake feeds mainly on toads, frogs, lizards, and newts but they will eat small mammals, birds, and small fishes. They may additionally on occasion eat ants or fish larvae and eggs.

They are active predators, actively looking for their prey, usually on the edge of the water from ponds, canals, streams, and rivers. The grass snake relies on their keen vision and hearing and the sense of smell, known as the organ of the Jacobson.

Unlike other non-venomous snakes, they do not utilize constriction to kill their prey as with other non-venomous snakes such as the boa constrictor. The animal is grabbed and simply swallowed usually while still living. They are capable of swallowing quite prey .

Following a meal, they’ll cling to grow their body temperature to aid the digestion process. Grass snake will take live earthworms provided by hand, but maybe not dead prey things.


The mating season brings grass snakes together in large groups, typically a few females to a much larger group of men. Men will emerge first followed by the females earlier if temperatures are positive or as many as 2 weeks afterwards around April.

The grass snake mating season occurs from March to June, usually in two more or less distinct phases. The initial from March to April when the snakes simply coming from hibernation drop their skin, and the other in the autumn just before they enter hibernation.

Males loosen their entire body across a receptive female, massaging against the female with his head when wrap their tail around the female’s torso permitting for the copulation to occur. Females seem to be able select the instant of fertilization according to problems and to store the sperm.

Females lay up to 50 white eggs with a leathery shell in June or July, grass snakes are Britain’s only egg-laying snake species. Females search for a suitable site generally in compost trees or plant since heat is needed by the eggs during the incubation period.

The egg growth depends upon the temperature, but they often hatch 6 to 2 weeks after they are laid. Hatchlings use their egg tooth to escape out of the eggs by breaking the shell, these teeth are lost after hatching.

The newly born grass snakes are about 7 inches (18 cm) long and have to be immediately independent from the moment of birth. Just begin breeding at 4 or 5 years of age, while males mature at 3 years old females. After they hit maturity females lose their skin once annually twice a year while men shed.


The grass snake for a whole is classified as Least Concern species on the IUCN Red List. The Wildlife and Countryside Act also protects in the United Kingdom it.

Even though it is still rather common in the UK they’ve become scarcer and therefore are declining in numbers. The species can be listed under Appendix III of the Bern Convention.


The species was first described as Coluber natrix by Linnaeus in 1758 and later reclassified as Natrix natrix by Stejneger at 1907.

The species scientific name natrix derives probably from the Latin word”nare” or even”natare” so”to float”, referring to their own superb swimming abilities.

Like other snake species scientists don’t alway agree about the number marijuana snake subspecies. At present, the most commonly accepted amount is 9 subspecies.

N. natrix natrix
N. natrix schweizeri
N. natrix helvetica
N. natrix astreptophora
N. natrix cetti
N. natrix corsa
N. natrix persa
N. natrix sicula
N. natrix scutata

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