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Grass Snake

Grass Snake
Photo Information
Copyright: Razvan Zinica (zetu) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-04-08
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Sony DSC-H1
Exposure: f/4, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-03-29 0:49
Viewed: 10836
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Grass Snake (Natrix natrix), sometimes called the Ringed Snake or Water Snake is a European non-venomous snake. The Grass Snake is typically dark green or brown in colour with a characteristic yellow collar behind the head, which explains the alternative name ringed snake. The colour may also range from grey to black, with darker colours being more prevalent in colder regions, presumably owing to the thermal benefits of being dark in colour. The underside is lighter in colour. In Great Britain the Grass Snake is the largest reptile reaching up to 190 centimetres total length, though such large specimens are rare. Females are considerably larger than males, typically reaching a size of 90-110 cm when fully grown. Males are approximately 20 cm shorter and significantly smaller in girth. Weighs 8 ounces They prey almost entirely on amphibians, especially the common toad and the common frog, although they may also occasionally eat mammals and fish. Captive snakes have been observed taking earthworms offered by hand, but dead prey items were never taken. The bite is non-toxic and the snake is a hunt/ambush predator, consuming the prey live without using physical constriction. Grass Snakes are strong swimmers and may be found close to fresh water, although there is evidence that individual snakes often do not make use of water bodies throughout the entire season. The preferred habitat appears to be open woodland and 'edge' habitat such as field margins and woodland borders as these may offer adequate refuge while still affording ample opportunity for basking activity and thermoregulation. Pond edges are also favoured and the relatively high chance of observing this secretive species in such areas may account for their perceived association with ponds and water.
Grass Snakes, as with most reptiles, are at the mercy of the thermal environment and need to overwinter in areas which are not subject to freezing. Thus they typically spend the winter underground where the temperature is relatively stable. As spring approaches, the males emerge first and spend much of the day basking in an effort to raise body temperature and thereby metabolism. This may be a tactic to maximise sperm production as the males mate with the females as soon as they emerge up to 2 weeks later in April or earlier if environmental temperatures are favourable. The leathery skinned eggs are laid in batches of 840 in June to July and hatch after about 10 weeks. As eggs require a temperature of at least 21 C and high humidity to survive and hatch, rotting vegetation, including compost heaps, are preferred locations. The young are about 18cm long when they hatch and are immediately independent.
After breeding in spring, snakes tend to hunt and may range widely during this time, moving several hundred metres in a day. Prey items tend to be large compared to the size of the snake and this impairs the movement ability of the snake. Snakes which have recently eaten rarely move any significant distance and will stay in one location, basking to optimize their body temperature until the prey item has been digested. Individual snakes may only need 2-3 significant prey items throughout an entire season.
Ecdysis also impacts upon the movement of grass snakes at least once during the active season. As the outer skin wears and the snake grows, the skin loosens from the body, including from the eyes, which may turn a milky white colour at this time. This presumably impacts upon the eyesight of the snake and they do not move or hunt during this time. The outer skin is eventually sloughed in one piece and normal movement activity is resumed.
Not being venomous, the snake's only defence is to produce a foul-smelling fluid (containing asafoetida) from the anal glands and/or feigning death by becoming completely limp. Rarely, they may also perform fake attacks, striking without actually opening their mouths. They bite in defense rarely.
This snake is distributed throughout lowland areas of England and Wales but is almost absent from Scotland and not found in Ireland, which has no resident snakes. It is widely distributed in continental Europe, ranging from mid Scandinavia to southern Italy. It is also found in north-western Africa. British Grass Snakes belong to the subspecies N. n. helvetica, but experts differ on the number of subspecies.
The species has various predator species, including corvids, owls and perhaps other birds of prey, foxes and the domestic cat. In England, grass snakes are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and cannot be harmed or traded without permission, although they may legally be captured and kept in captivity.

Argus, boreocypriensis, cataclysta, cicindela, red45, nglen, jaycee, maurydv, gannu, Adanac, rousettus has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-03-29 0:59]

Hello Razvan, my neighbour!
A wonderful frame-filling portrait of a grass Snake taken from agreat POV to show the whole snake with fine sharpness and lighting against a contrasting plain BG.
Well done and TFS!
Best wishes,

Hi Razvan,
A nice capture of this beautiful grass snake. Excellent composition and sharp details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hi Razvan
Very elegant photo from the reptile field guide. Great pose of the snake, good sharpness and exposure
I like it very much

Hi Razvan, a perfect and awesome shot of this handsome grass snake from nice POV with lovely pose and net details on its scalation.
TFS and cheers MF,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-03-29 1:53]

Hello Razvan,
Beautiful photo of this Grass Snake in perfect sharpness. Good exposure and composition.

Salut Razvan!
Very nice capture of Natrix natrix, you presented this adult specimen with veru good DOF and sharpness. Maybe the background doest not make to gig contrast with snake, but I like it :)
Note is more than informative, you included there so many details about species :)
Greetings from Lodz!

Ciao Razvan, great capture of splendid snake with superb details and excellent sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

hello Razvan
great sharpness picture
very good details of the snake
good light
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2009-03-29 10:56]

Hello Razvan!

My favourite snake - probably because it is one and only which I photographed :-) Very interesting photo with perfectly visible whole body of reptile. Great details and colours, especially yellow spots on head. Good job!

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-03-29 12:20]

Hi razvan. Firstly you have writen interesting notes to go with this fine picture of the Grass Snake. As Ivan said good to get the snake to fill the frame . It looks a fair size to me. You have captured the markings on the skin so well . with natural colours. well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • Marx44 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 97 N: 926] (3891)
  • [2009-03-29 13:45]

Very nice shot, Razvan!
I like the focus on the snakes head, the vey natural BG.
Also nice are the DOF and the and the framin.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2009-03-29 13:52]

Hi Razvan,

This picture of the Grass Snake is excellent - should be used in a text or an encyclopedia. Beautiful natural colors and super fine details of the wonderful face and the skin. He shows off very well against the plain background.


Hello Razvan,
a splendid and interesting capture of Natrix natrix taken from a good POV with fine details and bright colours, well composed.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2009-03-30 10:12]

Razvan, What a beautiful shot. Superb view and lovely sharp focus. Ganesh

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2009-03-30 18:16]

Hello Razvan,
Excellent image with great focus and depth of field making the whole snake in focus. Great work Razvan, thank you.

Hello Razvan
wonderful capture for Grass Snake. great focus, POV, exposure and composition. congratulations. timing also great. thanks for sharing, well done

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