British Snakes

The Three Types of British Snakes

While the United States is home to thousands of types of snakes, of British snakes, there are only three major species.  The reason for the small variety is the cool climate. Since snakes are cold blooded creatures, most require a warmer climate in which to thrive. Below are descriptions of the three types of British snakes that have been able to adapt to cooler weather.

The Adder

Some may hope that with only three types of snakes to choose from, there would be none that were harmful to humans. That is not the case. The Adder is the only one of the three that is harmful to humans, but happily it is rare for an attack on humans to occur.  Even when they do attack, the bites are seldom fatal. One reason for that is how little of the venom the snake releases with each bite. While the venom is quite potent, the snake does not usually deliver a fatal dose.

Because they are fond of open land, it is not uncommon for humans to come in contact with this type of British snake.  In fact, during the warmer months, you may even spot an Adder sunning himself right out in the open.

These snakes have live births, as opposed to some types of snakes which lay eggs. Typically, each birth would include anywhere from five to twenty snakes. There is no parental care and the young snakes are left on their own as soon as they are born.

The Adder can be recognized by looking for the black diamond pattern that extends the entire length of the gray body.

The Grass Snake

While not poisonous, the Grass snake can be the most ominous looking of the British snakes simply because it is the largest. It can reach lengths of up to five feet. This snake is most often found near a water source and tends to favor the warmer parts of Great Britain.

Because they have no venom, there is no danger to those who encounter the Grass snake. Still, several swimmers have been startled by this snake as they swam through the water searching for a meal of toads or frogs.

This black snake is an egg layer. Once the eggs hatch, the snakes receive no parental care.

The Smooth Snake

The Smooth snake is quite rare among British snakes. In fact, less than 4000 of these dark gray snakes are thought to exist. This snake, like the other British snakes, hibernates for a good part of the year. Because its preferred food is other cold blooded animals, this snake cannot be found in the colder regions.

Once spring rolls around, the snake gets busy mating and the female will give birth to between five and fifteen live young snakes. This wishing to spot a Smooth snake will need to choose the time of year and location carefully.

Looking in the warmer regions in the spring is the best bet. That is when snakes will be more likely to be out in the open as they will be looking for a mate.