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Grass Snake (Natrix natrix)

The Grass Snake (Natrix natrix), sometimes called the Ringed Snake or Water Snake is a European non-venomous snake. It is often found near water and feeds almost exclusively on amphibians.

Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) - Head

Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca)

The Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) is a harmless colubrid species found in northern and central Europe, but also as far east as northern Iran.


Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca)

Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

The viviparous lizard or common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) is a Eurasian lizard. It lives farther north than any other reptile species, and most populations are viviparous (giving birth to live young), rather than laying eggs as most other lizards do.


Viviparous lizard - Basking

Adder (Vipera berus)

Vipera berus, the European adder or Northern viper, is a venomous viper species that is widespread and can be found throughout most of Western Europe and all the way to Far East Asia and as far north as the Arctic circle. Adders have been the subject of much folklore in Britain and other European countries. They are not regarded as highly dangerous; the snake is not aggressive and usually only bites when alarmed or disturbed. Bites can be very painful, but are seldom fatal.


Adder (Vipera berus) - Basking

The adder is found in different terrains, habitat complexity being essential for different aspects of its behaviour. It feeds on small mammals, birds, lizards, amphibians and in some cases on spiders, worms and insects. Females breed once every two or three years with litters usually born in late summer to early autumn in the Northern hemisphere. The adder, like most other vipers, is ovoviviparous; litters range in size from 3 to 20 with young staying with their mothers for a few days. Adults grow to a length of 60 to 90 centimetres (24 to 35 in) and a mass of 50 grams (1.8 oz) to about 180 grams (6.3 oz).

In the UK the adder is considered to be local and vulnerable in many different places. Recent research has shown a decline in the species in Eastern England & the Midlands (Baker et al 2004). It is a red data book species in various counties (Essex, Kent) and is also a priority species under the UK's National Biodiversity Action Plan (Arc Trust 2007)

Slow-Worm (Anguis fragilis)

Anguis fragilis, or slow worm, slow-worm, slowworm, blindworm or blind worm, is a limbless reptile native to Eurasia.

Slow-worms are semi-fossorial (burrowing) lizards spending much of the time hiding underneath objects. The skin of the varieties of slow-worm is smooth with scales that do not overlap one another. Like many other lizards, slow-worms autotomize, meaning that they have the ability to shed their tails in order to escape predators. The tail regrows, but remains smaller. The slow-worm is the most frequently encountered reptile species in the UK. It is reasonably widespread and relative 'common or abundant' in Southern England.

These reptiles are mostly active during the twilight and occasionally bask in the sun, but are more often found hiding beneath rocks and logs. They are carnivorous and, because they feed on slugs and worms, they can often be found in long grass and other damp environments.


Slow-Worm (Anguis fragilis)

The females give birth to live young (ovoviviparous birth). In the days leading up to birth the female can often be seen basking in the sun on a warm road.

They are common in gardens and can be encouraged to enter and help remove pest insects by placing black plastic or a piece of tin on the ground. On warm days one or more slow worms will often be found underneath these collectors of heat. One of the biggest causes of mortality in slow worms in suburban areas is the domestic cat, against which it has no defense.

Although these lizards are often mistaken for snakes, there are a number of features that differentiate them from snakes. The most important is they have small eyes with eyelids that blink like lizards. This is a feature that is not found in snakes. They may also have visible ears like lizards do, which snakes do not have. They shed their skin in patches like other lizards, rather than the whole skin as most snakes do. Slowworms also shed tails by breaking one of their tail vertebrae in half, as a defence mechanism, as lizards do. Also, the pattern of their ventral scales is totally different from that of snakes.

Adult slow-worms grow to be about 50 cm long and are known for their exceptionally long life; it has been said that a slow-worm is the longest-living lizard, living about thirty years in the wild and up to fifty-four years in captivity (this record is held by a male slow worm that lived at the Copenhagen Zoo from 1962 to 2009). The female often has a stripe along the spine and dark sides while the male may have blue spots dorsally. Juveniles of both sexes are gold with a dark brown belly and sides with a dark stripe along the spine.