My first close encounter with a native snake in the wild!

Ooh I’ve waited a long time for this! I’ve seen a grass snake a few times from a distance, but this is the first time I’ve managed to get reasonably up close and personal, so to speak.

This is a grass snake, Natrix natrix, the largest (although the adder is thicker) and most widespread of Britain’s three native snakes (those being the grass snake, the adder and the smooth snake).  It is not venomous and completely harmless, preferring to play dead rather than bite if you catch it. It is usually to be found near water and preys largely on amphibians. On the one hand I’d love to find one in our garden, on the other hand, I’d fear for our resident frogs.

On this occasion, I was torn between photographing it and trying to catch it. My urge to record every moment in a picture won out, aided by knowing that the grass snake’s main defence mechanism is to defaecate foul smelling fluid. I mean really foul. My burmese pythons used to do this if they were very annoyed, and believe me, it ain’t pleasant! They are the reptilian equivalent of a skunk.

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