Grass snake

Grass snake

(Also known as collared snake, common snake, green snake, hedge snake, ringed snake, water snake)

Grass snakes are fairly common in damper, open areas throughout the New Forest. In the UK they are found in lowland England and Wales, but are scarce in Scotland.


Grass snakes favour rough grassland and meadows, and are never far from watery places where they can hunt for frogs, toads, newts and fish. They are excellent swimmers. Look for them in boggy areas, streams and around the larger ponds, such as Hatchet Pond. They can also be seen in gardens with ponds or compost heaps.

Grass snakes live for 10 to 15 years. They are completely harmless to people and do not have a venomous bite. If they feel threatened they can hiss and even pretend to strike. If that does not work they will play dead and emit a foul-smelling liquid if they are handled!

ID tip - The grass snake is usually olive green in colour, with black bars or spots along the body and a distinctive yellow ‘collar’ around its neck.  These are the longest snakes in the UK with males growing up to 100cm long and females 130cm, and the record in Britain was a female over 1.8m (6 feet).

Photograph supplied by the Forestry Commission

  1. Reptiles
  2. Adder
  3. Sand lizard
  4. Slow-worm
  5. Grass snake (you are here)
  6. Common lizard
  7. Smooth snake


image-fade-right image-fade-left