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When is a Grass Snake not a Grass Snake?

Ask any walker that knows their snakes and they will tell you that there are three species of snake native to the UK; adder, smooth snake and grass snake. Well, the latest findings from scientists change that fact, because it seems not all grass snakes are the same species…

barred grass snake with captioncommon grass snake with captionA new type of snake has been discovered in the UK, bringing the total number of species to four. Scientists say that the barred grass snake is a different species to the common grass snake, rather than a sub species of the common grass snake as was originally thought. The other two species of snake are the smooth snake and the adder, the only venomous snake in the UK.

Both types of grass snake are normally found in lowland regions in the south of England. The snakes can be more than a metre long, are found near water and eat mainly amphibians like frogs and newts.

The barred grass snake is different in appearance to its common counterpart. The barred grass snake is grey in colour, does not have a yellow collar and has more noticeable black stripes along its entire length. The common grass snake in comparison is olive green with a yellow collar and barely noticeable stripes.

Grass snakes are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act so it is a criminal offence to injure or kill them.

9 September 2017
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