Wa­ter sur­prise

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild July -

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

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