Evidence of Natrix natrix breeding at Thames Road Wetland
Grass Snakes, Britain’s largest native snake species, are only occasionally seen at Thames Road Wetland, and are difficult to get photographs of. There is a particular, and somewhat surprising spot, where two different individuals have been seen a couple of times in recent months. Whilst giving a guided tour to a volunteer on August 18th, we took a chance that one would be there again, despite it being cool and overcast, and were rewarded with two youngsters. This provides good evidence of on-site breeding. Indeed cut/pulled vegetation is deliberately piled up to crate egg-laying sites for these animals. Fortunately I got the cover they were under back down quickly enough that they stayed put whilst my companion Rebecca Morgan readied her camera. She was then able to grab the photos reproduced below before they slid off into the surrounding undergrowth.
Grass Snakes are harmless and are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to kill, harm or injure them, sell or trade them in any way. They are thought to be in decline due to habitat loss and, like the rest of the UK’s reptile species, they are the subject of Biodiversity Action Plans.