Thursday, 23 September 2010 14:14
Whilst out walking the local fields and woodlands near my home in mid-Kent I was fortunate to find the shed skin of one the United Kingdoms six native reptiles, which are the adder or viper (Vipera berus) , grass snake (Natrix natrix), smooth snake (Coronella austriaca), sand lizard (Lacerta agilis), common lizard (Lacerta vivipara) and slow worm (Anguis fragilis).
It was easy to distinguish which particular reptile this skin came from as it was approximately 91cm or 3 feet long and I had previously seen three large snakes basking on the sunny bank of a ditch bordering the field.
This particular find is from a grass snake (Natrix natrix) and fortunately they are quite common in the local countryside near Badger HQ. I often get to brief glimpse of them disappearing into thick vegetation when Inca, our Labrador, disturbs them or I see them gracefully swimming across local ponds.
Research on the length of grass snakes varies greatly, but males of around 70cm -90cm are recorded with males normally being shorter than females. Lengths for females of up to190cm or 6 feet 3 inches are reputed, but I have not seen anything longer that around 100cm.
The beauty of working, as I do, in the countryside is you never know what you will see or find – all we have to do is walk quietly and keep or eyes open.