bobthebirder's picture

Young Smooth Snake

Observed: 25th June 2009 By: bobthebirderbobthebirder’s reputation in Amphibians and Reptilesbobthebirder’s reputation in Amphibians and Reptilesbobthebirder’s reputation in Amphibians and Reptiles
young smooth snake

We were on a nightjar walk late at night when one of the group spotted this snake crossing the path in front of us. In the dark it looked like a grass snake but when I saw the photo (taken with a flash) I could see that it was actually a smooth snake. I suppose it could have been an adder so I should be more careful in future! The first snake I have ever noticed at night. Later the same evening we found a slow-worm hunting, but I have seen them at night before. Next April I hope to run a day's reptile workshop where we could see 3 species of snake and 5 species of lizard! All in Dorset! Contact if you are interested.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


miked's picture

remarkable seeing a snake at

remarkable seeing a snake at night, especially a smooth snake, do you know what their temperature limits are on activity - what temperature was it at the time? I thought one of the limits on smooth snake distribution was the climate in uk so they only occur at a limited range of warm locations in the south?

the naturalist man's picture

Smooth snake

Yes, this is a smooth snake for the reasons you mention. The key feature is the lack of the zig zag pattern which adders are born with.

Mike, this site is slap bang in the middle of the smooth snakes range. 20 years ago I volunteered at the RSPB reserve at Arne, Dorset; not far from Tadnoll Hill. Whilst there I found all six amphibians and all six reptiles. In one of those amazing conicidences I saw my first live smooth snake whilst leading a nightjar watch as well.

I would just like to point out that disturbing smooth snakes whilst in a place of rest or safety, without a licence, is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Also, as Bob points out it is not a good idea to pick up any snake unless you are sure - even a baby adder can give you a nasty bite.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'

bobthebirder's picture

snakes at night

This was an unusually warm evening, so may have extended the snake's hunting time considerably.

Bob Ford

bobthebirder's picture

reptile day in Dorset

I've fixed the date for next year's reptile workshop. It will be on Wednesday April 28th, starting at 10.00 am at the Heights Hotel, Portland. Contact if you are interested.

Bob Ford

bobthebirder's picture

reptile workshop

I've had to change the date of this to Saturday May 1st 2010.

Bob Ford