Do you have Ophidiophobia? Does your blood run cold sensing the presence of a snake? Then the Grass snake, also known as Ring snake, is the one that can cool your jets as this species is harmless and non-venomous. You can find them near water bodies and green pastures. Let us know a few details about them.
Structure Of A Grass Snake
The Grass Snake is brown or dark green in color with a yellow collar behind its head, the reason why it is also known as a ringed snake. The color varies due to habitat changes and it ranges from grey to black with darker colors. The underside is whitish with patches of black which helps to identify them easily.
Habitat Of Grass Snake
The mainland of Europe ranging from Scandinavia to Southern Italy is the habitat for grass snakes. Also, they can be traced in the Middle East and North Western Africa. Earlier they were thought as the native of Great Britain, but recent studies reveal that they have originated from somewhere else probably imported specimens.
Grass Snakes are good swimmers and found near freshwater. Preferred habitat could be open woodlands and fields. Pond edges are also a favorite to them. Like most other reptiles, Grass snakes spend the winter underground for stable temperature.
Food Habits Of Grass Snakes & Reproduction System
Grass Snakes mainly feed themselves on amphibians such as frogs, toads or earthworms. They search for the prey actively on the edges of the water. They have a strong sense of smell and eyesight. Garter snakes never feed on dead prey.
The males bask in the sun as the Spring approaches to maximize sperm production. Eight to forty eggs are laid in June or July which hatch almost after ten weeks. At least 21 degrees Celsius with high humidity is needed for suitable hatching. Heaps of rotten vegetables are the preferred locations for laying eggs. Young ones are about 18 cm long and quite independent in nature.
After breeding in summer or Monsoon, snakes go for long hunting. This time they look for larger prey which improves the ability of the snakes. They may need two or three preys to satisfy their hunger throughout an entire season. They remain under the sun for a long time after eating to optimize their body temperature to digest their food.
Defense System Of Grass Snake
The main defense system of the snakes is to emit a garlic-smelling fluid from the anal glands. They are intelligent enough to feign their death and act as completely limp to save themselves from the predators. Though non-venomous in nature, Grass snakes may be aggressive in defense making hissing sound but rarely bite. Sometimes these snakes show the behavioral mimicry of a Cobra by raising its head and hissing typical to cobras.
Protection For The Survival Of Grass snakes
Grass Snakes are favorite to different kinds of prey, mainly being the Owls, Storks and even Foxes and Domestic Cats. England introduced the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to protect Grass Snakes. It mentioned that no harm or trade can be done with snakes without a license. Denmark made some effort to protect snakes as well as other reptiles. Already two of the species of Grass Snakes are declared endangered. UK Biodiversity Action Plan took steps to conserve Grass Snakes for their protection and also as a need to maintain the ecosystem.
Importance Of Grass Snakes In Another Way
Many Latvians look up the Grass Snakes as a blessing on them. According to them, Grass Snakes symbolize education and wisdom to the Latvian people. Also, they are used as ornaments in folk dance, in the military and moreover as logos for educational purposes. Though it seems suspiciously blind belief, yet people are satisfied with it. So let them be.