Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about the European Grass Snake or Ringed Snake Natrix natrix. The term Grass Snake is also used to mean the Smooth Green Snake (Opheodrys vernalis), as well as several other non-venomous North and Central American snakes in American English.
The Grass Snake is typically dark green or brown in colour with a charateristic yellow collar behind the head, which explains the alternative name ringed snake. The colour may also range from grey to black. The underside is lighter in colour. In Britain the Grass Snake is the largest reptile reaching up to 120cm total length.
Grass Snakes hibernate over the winter and mate soon after they emerge in the spring during April or May. The leathery skinned eggs are laid in batches of 8-40 in June to July and hatch after about 10 weeks. As eggs require a temperature of at least 21° C to hatch, rotting vegetation, including compost heaps are preferred locations. The young are around 18cm long when they hatch and are immediately independent.
Not being venomous, their only defense is to produce a foul-smelling fluid from the anal glands.
This snake is found in lowland areas of England and Wales but is almost abscent from Scotland and not found in Ireland. It has a wide distribution in continental Europe, from southern Scandinavia to southern Italy. It is also found in northwestern Africa. British Grass Snakes belong to the subspecies Natrix natrix helvetica, but experts differ on the number of subspecies.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details