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Grass Snake

Blackdown

Overview

All reptiles are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it illegal to intentionally kill or injure a common reptile, including the grass snake.

Where can I find grass snakes?

Grass snakes are wide spread in England (common in some areas of the south and south east) and Wales, but are not found in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The grass snake population has become gradually decreased over recent years, and has been added to the list of priority species for conservation.

The Grass Snake favours damp areas with long grass, often close to water (ponds, reservoirs and marshes).

How can I identify a grass snake?

Grass snakes can often be confused with the adder which has a thicker body and their distinct zig-zag pattern. Adults grow up to 150cm length.  Usually greenish in colour, with a yellow collar and black neck patches. Females tend to be bigger than males.

What does their diet consist of? Who are their predators?

Their diet contains mostly amphibians such as toads, frogs and newts, but they can be known to also eat small mammals, young birds and some fish. Grass snakes are strong swimmers so they can easily move through water looking for prey. Grass snakes natural predators are badgers, foxes, domestic cats and birds.

Are grass snakes venomous?

No, grass snakes are not venomous. However, the adder is – click here to read more about the adder.

Ecological Consultancy Services:

Our ecologists have experience in undertaking reptile surveys where grass snakes have been found and well-practised with handling grass snakes as part of road, rail and development projects. Surveys typically comprise 7 survey visits undertaken between April/May and September in suitable weather conditions and involve installing artificial refuges in the form of squares of bitumen felt or corrugated tin under which grass snakes congregate to warm up. If grass snake are found to be present, mitigation solutions can include:

  • Installation of temporary or permanent reptile exclusion fencing this is often combined with translocating reptiles to an alternative site either off site or in a designated area on site
  • Habitat manipulation by way of reducing the habitat e.g. grassland to encourage reptiles to disperse to the boundaries or a designated site

 

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