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Grass snake - a species of non-venomous snake

grass snake tongue

What else don't you know about the snake?

Reptiles - this is certainly one of the groups of animals that cause people the most anxiety, fear and apprehension, both because of their appearance and behavior. They can attack with venom, sharp teeth or claws causing wounds and even death. They have mastered both aquatic and terrestrial environments around the world, sowing fear among the inhabitants of all continents except Antarctica. However, it is worth asking whether, in fact, all reptile species are so dangerous and whether they should be feared. The answer is - no! Not all species, currently living reptiles are dangerous to humans. Often their very appearance is intended to deter, but the animal itself can be dangerous to humans. It is worth getting acquainted with the most common species of reptiles living in the world, especially in Poland. In our country there are as many as 13 of them. Among the group of the most well-known is the grass snake, which is a great example of an animal that, despite its repellent appearance, is neither dangerous nor venomous. Let's take a closer look at this species to get to know it better and get rid of false stereotypes about it.

Characteristics

The common grass snake (Natrix natrix) is a native of almost all of Europe, Central Asia and northern Africa. It is a species of non-venomous snake, from the family of roaches. Adults weigh about 100 grams and lead a diurnal lifestyle. In this species, sexual dimorphism is barely visible and comes down only to the length of these individuals. The female of this species reaches a length of about 1.5 meters in length and is larger than the male, which usually measures about 1 meter. The young that hatch from the eggs after two months are about 15 centimeters long. They are among the predators, and their food is amphibians (frogs, toads, newts), fish or small rodents. They attack and eat only live prey. The average age of snakes is 15 years.

Place of occurrence

Areas where grass snakes most often live are marshy, swampy and wet areas. They inhabit the vicinity of lakes, meadows, forests, and can even be found by the sea. They are found in both lowland and mountainous areas. Individuals of this species are found in almost all of Europe except Ireland, Scotland, Crete and the northern part of Scandinavia. They are the most common species of reptiles in Poland.

Methods of defending snakes

Scientists have found that snakes under attack secrete a fragrant white liquid and pretend to be dead. Another way for snakes to defend themselves against predators is to emit a loud hiss. Both methods are very effective.

Origin of the name

The name snake comes from a very distinctive feature of these animals. They have very distinct yellow spots "behind the temples". This is a very important piece of information, by which we can distinguish this species from other snakes and conclude that they are not dangerous to us and do not have poisonous venom.

Positive features of snakes for humans

Not everyone knows that these reptiles can have a positive impact on human life. Some individuals frequent human habitation, especially gardens, and readily hunt small rodents, such as young rats or mice, and some amphibians.

How to tell the difference between the Common Grasshopper and the venomous Adder?

Both of these animals are found in Poland, so it's useful to know how to tell them apart. The adder has characteristic zigzags along its entire body of white, copper or black color. It exhibits elongated pupils and has a triangular head. Unlike the viper, the grass snake has prominent, distinctive yellow spots on its head and round pupils. Its head is flat. In addition, the viper has a more massive body structure. It is worth mentioning that these predators also differ in length. The venomous viper is as much as 50 cm shorter, than the harmless grass snake.

Interesting Facts about the Common Snake

1 The best chance of encountering snakes is in the spring from April to June.

2 They are ectothermic and bask in the sun to raise their body temperature, a typical characteristic of reptiles.

3 They spend the entire winter huddled together, hiding from the cold in the trunks of trees, burrows of other animals or in cavities.

4 The bodies of these snakes are covered with rough scales and shields.

5 Young snakes hunt small fish, tadpoles and earthworms.

6 Due to their rigid body structure, they will swallow their prey whole.

7 Females usually lay 8 to 20 eggs, although the number can reach up to 50.

8. these animals are excellent swimmers and divers.

9 The underbelly is white, and the dorsal part is grayish green or brownish green, covered with scales.

10. grasshoppers are very shy animals, shying away from people. Even when picked up, they do not bite.

It is worth remembering that all reptile species are under protection in Poland!

The biggest threat to grass snakes is man. They are most often killed under the wheels of cars, during grass cutting or attacks from other animals, such as white storks, buzzards as well as reptilians.

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