Grass Snake

Natrix Natrix

Key Facts

  • Length: over 1m
  • Weight: 240g
  • Average Lifespan: up to 25 years

Our largest snake, the Grass Snake, particularly likes wetland habitats, but can also be found in dry grasslands and in gardens, especially those with a pond nearby.

Lays eggs in rotting vegetation, often in compost heaps. Like all reptiles, Grass Snakes hibernate, usually from October to April. During the summer, they can be found basking near favourite ponds or even swimming.

How to Identify

Usually greenish in colour, with a yellow collar and black neck patches. Females are bigger than males. Often found near water and frequently swims.

Where to find

Widespread in England and Wales, but not found in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Also absent from the Isles of Scilly and most of the Channel Islands.

What People can do

The loss of our grassland and wetland habitats through human activity threatens the survival of our reptiles. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure these habitats are protected by fostering Living Landscape schemes: networks of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can help: look after grass snakes and other reptiles in your garden by leaving piles of logs for hibernating beneath. In partnership with the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts’ Wild About Gardens initiative can help you plan your wildlife garden.

Did you know?

When threatened by one of its many predators, the Grass Snake often ‘plays dead’, perhaps making itself less appealing to eat. Predators include badgers, foxes, domestic cats, hedgehogs and a number of birds; when caught, Grass Snakes hiss and release a foul-smelling substance from their anal gland. Although they may also strike with the head, they do not bite and are harmless to humans.

Similar Species