There can be few sights more startling than a grass snake expertly swimming across a pond, lake or canal on a July day, its head raised like a periscope. We tend to forget that this reptile is totally at home in water in summer, where it hunts small fish, frogs, toads and newts in the shallows and among lush bankside vegetation. Big females are particularly impressive, often reaching lengths of 1m, or exceptionally up to 1.5m. Last year, the grass snakes of Britain and western Europe were renamed barred grass snakes to distinguish them from a second species in central and eastern Europe.
FIND OUT MORE
Learn more about UK reptiles at arc-trust.org