Despite declining in numbers, grass snakes are the UK’s most common snake species. They are found throughout England and Wales but absent from Scotland and Ireland. They feed on amphibians mainly but can be found eating small mammals, fish, and even the occasional bird.
Where can you find a grass snake? If you want to marvel at this superb snake species, look for somewhere wet. Grass snakes particularly like wetland habitats such as lakes and rivers and are surprisingly good at swimming. Grass snakes also hang around water for their food source, feeding mostly on toads, frogs, and newts.
Found some water? here’s what to look out for. Try and find a south-facing bank, as reptiles are cold-blooded, they bask in the sun to regulate their body temperature and keep warm. Although they can be found on north-facing slopes, the sunniest locations will be south facing, providing the warmest temperature and best places to bask. Look early in the morning or late afternoon, on sunny days with temperatures above 10 degrees.
Found a south-facing slope with good sunshine and some water? Here’s what to do next. Look to find a mosaic habitat with areas of scrub and grassland. This gives grass snakes the best options for basking, while also having a quick exit underneath some scrub to hide from predators. The best basking spots are metal sheets (old fallen road signs) or rocks that heat up quickly in the sunshine.
Found a grass snake? Here’s what you should do. You can ID a grass snake quite easily, they have dark green scales, however, lack the classic zigzag pattern found on adders. Please don’t attempt to spook or pick up the snake, this can cause the snake distress and it will secrete a vile-smelling liquid in an attempt to ward you off. If you think the snake is harmed, please call the RSPCA on 0870 55 55 999. If the snake looks fine, leave it be, enjoy your experience and if you wish, you can report your sighting to The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, or use Froglife’s Dragon Finder App.
Often development sites will require a reptile survey if the habitat is suitable. Temple can provide these services and provide expert advice. If you want to enquire about these services please get in touch with Temple at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We found a grass snake on a site in Lower Heathcote, Warwickshire.