Smooth snakes live throughout the heathy areas of the New Forest, but are very seldom seen. In the UK they are extremely rare and are restricted to the heathlands of Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey. Areas of the Forest are so important for them that they have been given international nature conservation protection.
Smooth snakes live on heathlands with mature heather. They will also visit woodland edges and boggy areas in search of food. Your best chance of seeing a smooth snake will be to slowly and quietly search south-facing heathery slopes. Search on a sunny morning when they are likely to be basking. You will need patience and luck!
The smooth snake eats lizards (including the equally rare sand lizard), small rodents and other snakes such as young adders. It is not venomous and uses one or two coils to restrain its prey although it is not a true constrictor like a python. It can live for 20 years.
Photograph supplied by Forestry England