Monday, 19 May 2014

Grass Snake...

Found this beautiful male Grass Snake (natrix natrix helvetica) near Chard this morning. It was in absolutely pristine breeding condition and just looked stunning. Fantastic creatures, technically venomous (they have Duvernoy glands) but with no means of delivering the venom, they are completely harmless to man but you wouldn't want to meet one if you were a frog, toad, small fish or nestling bird. This is one of our two Colubrids - the other been smooth snake. There are just over 1700 members of this family worldwide including the highly dangerous African Boomslang. The UK subspecies helvetica is known as the barred grass snake because of the vertical bars most show along their flanks.

Grass Snake, showing the round pupil: R. Harris

Showing the well mark collar and head scale arrangement.
Note also the keeled dorsal scales on the body.

'Playing dead' is the second line of defence - the first
is covering you in a foul smelling white substance
from their post-anal gland. Not pleasant!

Amazingly long tongue! Forked quite deeply and used
to taste their surroundings.

Showing the fork in the tongue more clearly.

The large supraocular gives a mean look to the face.

The 'checkerboard' ventral scales can be clearly seen here.

Portrait shot of this stunning individual.
As above

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