Surname: Grass snake
Other names: Water ripper
Latin name: Natrix natrix
size: 60 - 100cm
Older: 5 - 15 years
Appearance: light yellow rings at the back of the head
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Carnivore
food: Fish, frogs, toads, small mammals
distribution: Asia, Africa, Europe
original origin: Europe
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Shore landscapes, waters, wet meadows
natural enemies: Fox, birds of prey
sexual maturity: about the age of three
mating season: May June
clutch size: 10 - 30 eggs
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the grass snake
- Grass snakes are reptiles that belong to the family Adder and Viper-like and are divided into several species depending on their size, appearance and distribution area.
- These non-poisonous snakes live in Europe as well as in Asia and parts of Northwest Africa.
- The common grass snake native to Central Europe is considered the most common snake found in the wild. Various subspecies such as the Barren Shrimp or the Spanish Ringelnatter occur in Western Europe, as well as in the Balkans, in the Mediterranean, in some countries of Scandinavia and in large parts of Siberia.
- Depending on the subspecies, the males reach a body length of up to one meter, the females are much longer and thicker. Grass snakes appear in different colors such as gray, olive green, black or a reddish brown. All species have a striking spotted drawing on the back and a light, white or pale yellow and dark spotted belly.
- The grass snake owes its name to its crescent-shaped, yellow to orange flat neck rings, which stand out clearly from the black back of the head, on the other hand, their peculiarity to curl their body in danger and to lay her neck in an S-shaped loop.
- Grass snakes keep most of their lives in the water and prefer calm flowing waters, lakes, ponds, wet meadow landscapes, garden ponds and ponds, which are densely planted on the bank and thus provide sufficient hiding places.
- The predominantly diurnal snakes are excellent swimmers who hunt in the water for amphibians, small birds and mammals as well as fish. At night they retreat to their hiding places between stones, roots or plants.
- Grass snakes are extremely shy animals that never become dangerous to humans.
- As cold-blooded animals, they always record the temperature of their environment. At night, her body cools down, in the morning they lie in the sun for a while to warm up.
- Small groups of grass snakes hibernate until April in small caves, which they find between the roots of large trees near water.
- After their mating in July, female grass snakes also lay their eggs in these caves, from which up to forty ten centimeters of juveniles hatch in early autumn. The offspring of a jail spend the first winter together in the breeding cave.
- To protect themselves from predators such as cats, griffons and waterfowl, foxes or martens, grass snakes use different tactics. In this way, they can utter hissing sounds when they are in danger, inflate their bodies, push their heads menacingly forward, or release a foul-smelling secretion from their toilet. Another method of repelling the attacker is the characteristic dead-end, rolling on his back and lying limp with his tongue down.
- In the wild, grass snakes have a life expectancy of up to 25 years.