Grass snake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Grass snake
A plump Natrix helvetica, showing barred stripes and no collar.
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Natrix
Binomial name
Natrix natrix (type species)
A grass snake upsidedown, playing dead

The grass snake (Natrix) is a non-venomous snake. It is often found near water and feeds almost exclusively on amphibians.

The grass snake is widely distributed in mainland Europe, ranging from mid Scandinavia to southern Italy. It is also found in Middle East and northwestern Africa.

It is one of only three snakes to occur in Great Britain, the others being the adder and the smooth snake. It is found in lowland areas of England and Wales. It is almost absent from Scotland and is not found in Ireland, which has no native snakes.

It is now known that there are two species in Britain. One is Natrix natrix, the original type species. It is olive green with a yellow collar or black-and-white collar. The other is the barred grass snake, Natrix helvetica, which is grey-brown with black stripes and no collar. The difference had been noticed, but was regarded as a difference between subspecies. Both forms are protected by law: it is an offence to harm them.[2]

The new species was discovered by the Senckenberg Research Institute in Germany which lead a study into the genetics of over 1,600 grass snakes.

Natrix natrix

References[change | change source]

  1. European Reptile & Amphibian Specialist Group (1996). "Natrix natrix". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/14368. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  2. New grass snake discovered in the UK. BBC News. [1]