Grass Snake

Natrix natrix

  1. Wildlife
  2. Reptiles
  3. Grass Snake


Our largest snake, the Grass Snake, particularly likes wetland habitats, but can also be found in dry grasslands and in gardens, especially those with a pond nearby.Lays eggs in rotting vegetation, often in compost heaps. Like all reptiles, Grass Snakes hibernate, usually from October to April. During the summer, they can be found basking near favourite ponds or even swimming.

How to identify

Usually greenish in colour, with a yellow collar and black neck patches. Females are bigger than males. Often found near water and frequently swims.

Where to find it

Widespread in England and Wales, but not found in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Also absent from the Isles of Scilly and most of the Channel Islands.


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

The loss of our grassland and wetland habitats through human activity threatens the survival of our reptiles. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure these habitats are protected by fostering Living Landscape schemes: networks of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can help: look after grass snakes and other reptiles in your garden by leaving piles of logs for hibernating beneath. In partnership with the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts' Wild About Gardens initiative can help you plan your wildlife garden.

Local information

BBOWT's West Berkshire Living Landscape and Upper Thames Living Landscape projects are large-scale projects to manage and create a mosaic of habitats for the benefit of a wide variety of wildlife, including grass snakes. Bowdown Woods is a nature reserve found within the West Berkshire project area where you may spot them. The Bernwood Forest project is another large-scale project which contains reserves, such as Finemere Wood, where you may see grass snakes. Other BBOWT reserves where you may see them include Warburg Nature Reserve, Wildmoor Heath and Moor Copse. You may even find snakes hibernating closer to home in a compost heap in your garden. 

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Species information

Common name
Grass Snake
Latin name
Natrix natrix
Length: over 1m Weight: 240g Average Lifespan: up to 25 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.