Grass Snake – Why Are They Significant?


Grass Snake - Why Are They Significant?

Quite a few Enid Blyton novels describe a grass snake peeping out at the passing children from the long grass. Naturally, the children freaked out, though there is not much reason to be afraid of them only except the reason that it’s a snake!

The grass snakes are usually brown or dark green with a special yellow collar on the spine of the head. Colors may vary from gray to black, but darker colors are more common in cold areas. However, the grass snake is quite a popular name as they are mythologically significant.

Mythological History Of Grass Snakes 

While browsing through the mythology of Baltic people, we can often find a search for grass snakes. This is because they considered grass snakes to be holy. In fact, the grass snakes were even allowed to stay under the beds of the newly married couple. Otherwise, a comfortable place beside the hearth was reserved for them.

Grass Snake - Why Are They Significant?
Grass Snake – Why Are They Significant?

Moreover, the newly married couple went to the extent of feeding them succulent morsels out of their own hands as a mark of respect. Before proceeding, it is heartening to know that a grass snake is also known as Zaltis in the Lithuanian language. Even after the Christianisation of Lithuania, the grass snakes managed to retain some of their auspiciousness.

According to a common Latvian proverb, a person who kills a grass snake indirectly kills his own happiness. Also, the people of that region believe that a grass snake lives under each and every house. However, the inhabitants of the house may or may not be aware of its existence. In the course of time, if the snake deserts the house, the house is quite likely to burn down.

Self Defense Mechanism Of Grass Snake

Though we panic at the sight of a grass snake, it is heartening to find that they are not venomous. However, nature has endowed them with a mechanism for self-defense. To begin with, they hiss and strike aggressively. Throughout the display of aggression, they don’t open their mouths even once. When this doesn’t work, they secrete a fluid that smells like garlic from their anal glands. After that, they even go completely limp, pretending to be dead. These reptiles are so convincing as actors that they even allow blood to spurt from their noses and mouths while feigning death. Funnily, as soon as they realize that someone has seen through this pretense, they throw up all the contents of their stomachs.

Grass Snake - Why Are They Significant?
Grass Snake – Why Are They Significant?

Scientific Name Of Grass Snake

Of late, biologists are fascinated by grass snakes. “Natrix Natrix” is the scientific name of grass snakes.

Description Of Grass Snakes

Typically, a grass snake is either dark brown or green in color. Also, they have a yellow collar behind their neck. This is why they are alternately known as ringed snakes. Moreover, there have whitish undersides, with irregular blocks of black. This is how we may distinguish between the different snakes. 

In this context, one must keep in mind that the colder the climate is, the darker their color is.

What Do Grass Snakes Eat?

Grass snakes may go without food for days. However, there are times when they eat voraciously. In this context, we may observe that the food habits of wild grass snakes differ from that captive grass snakes. The wild grass snake eats amphibian-like both frogs and toads. However, the captive grass snake also eats earthworms. Not surprisingly, they use both their sense of sight and smell to search for prey actively. When they catch the prey, they eat it alive, without construction.

 To conclude, this non-venomous verse of reptiles are found close to freshwater. Last but not least, grass snakes are strong swimmers.

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