7 May 2007

Tough Snake!

by Anton Piatek

On my way home from work on Friday I ran over a snake turning a corner on my motorbike. I heard the thing go crunch, and thought I had killed it. When I pulled up on to the pavement and had a look, the poor thing was still alive. Quite startled by a few passing cars it started slithering back off the road to the grass, but I went to get a look at it.

It was a pale green colour, getting lighter towards the belly, and had several rows of brown/black spots or diamons running down its length, close enough together to look almost like stripes. It was hardly more than 2cm diameter, but was almost a meter long. I am still having trouble identifying it though. According to wikipedia, there are only 3 types of snake in the UK. Other sites seem to confirm this, but none say how many intriduced species there may be.

I doubt it was a Grass Snake, as the pattern is completely wrong and I did not notice any bands behind the head. There is no chance it was an adder as it is very different, so that really only leaves the Smooth Snake. The description of the pattern matches what I saw, but the colour of the snake is not correct. It is a shame I did not grab my phone and try to get a photo of it – I was half tempted to try and pick it up to get a closer look at the head (which might help identification) but even with leather motorbike gloves on was not so sure about that idea…