The Grass Snake is the usual name for a common Eurasian, non-venomous snake with a white or pale yellow collar.
It is also sometimes called the Ringed Snake because of the collar. A black collar follows the pale one.
The name Grass Snake is also used for another species of snake in North America.
In Britain (not present in Scotland or Ireland) the subspecies helvetica
is grey (grey-olive, grey-brown, charcoal) with a pale lemon or white collar, black-striped flanks and a white, mottled underside.
The collar usually has a small break in the centre. Other European subspecies have a continuous collar, a larger break or, in Spain, no collar; most have mottled rather than striped sides.
The striped side
The forked tongue
The striped side (raiding garden pond for goldfish)
The Grass Snake is usually found by or in water. It swims well and its main diet is amphibians or fish.
Where frogs are in decline it will raid garden ponds for ornamental fish.
Typically reaching some 3 feet (1 metre) length but can be twice that.
Unlike Adders and Smooth Snakes, Grass Snakes lay leathery, uneven-shaped eggs (above) rather than live young.
The Grass Snake in Kazakhstan, Central Asia, has a stronger, orange collar and yellow facial stripes. Photo by Alexandra Makhnina.