Scientific name: Natrix helvetica
The grass snake is our longest snake, but don't worry if you find one in the compost heap - it's harmless! Look out for this green and yellow beauty in grasslands and wetlands, too.
Average lifespan: 15-25 years
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.
When to seeApril to October
AboutOur largest snake, the grass snake, is particularly fond of wetland habitats, but can also be found in dry grasslands and in gardens, especially those with a pond nearby. During the summer, grass snake can be spotted basking in the sun near their favourite ponds or swimming in the water.
They hunt amphibians, fish, small mammals and birds. Females lay 10 to 40 eggs in rotting vegetation, such as compost heaps, incubating them until they hatch in early Autumn. Like all reptiles, grass snake hibernate, usually from October to April.
The British population of grass snake belongs to the distinct subspecies Natrix natrix helvetica, but new research published in August 2017 proposed that it should be elevated to full species status, with the name barred grass snake, Natrix helvetica.