|Wildlife in my Garden - Grass Snake (Natrix Natrix)|
"Mum, I've found a Snake! Come quickly and see it!"
Not necessarily the words a mother wants to hear shouted excitedly by their youngest child. Come on, I've lived in far too many places around the world to greet that announcement with anything but extreme concern, nay fright. That's why I love England so - no snakes.
Well, that's what I thought.
Of course I know that there are snakes in England, just that I've never seen one. The only ones I have ever heard of, of course, are Adders. Those, I know, are extremely shy and retiring preferring not to be disturbed and thus keeping as far a way from humankind as possible. It's a snake I can live with, one that doesn't want to be near me. Problem is, I do know that when disturbed an Adder is likely to act a bit like me.
Attack first think about it later.
So with my youngest yelling snake you can imagine that I was like Usain Bolt off the starting blocks, in fact I truly believe he would have been hard pressed to beat me as I shot outside to snatch my boy to safety.
I felt a complete nit.
For the snake was the tiniest I have ever seen - it was exquisite.
It could not have been more than 15 centimetres long, it's head a tiny arrow broad across the eyes and snub nosed. I was fascinated by its tiny black tongue and the fact that as we watched it I could actually hear it hiss. This tiny toy of a creature was just one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a very long time.
I luckily had my camera at the ready and I am afraid for a few minutes I made it extremely cross, but because it was so small, and the fact that I identified it as a grass snake and thus harmless, I felt quite safe to intrude upon its dignity.
It moved surprisingly quickly and coiled and sprung just like its really rather venomous, and quite considerably larger, cousins. The boys got tired of watching it far quicker than myself, and had long gone before the snake too made its last bow disappearing through the grass muttering to itself about intrusion and invasion of privacy.
I now know I have snakes in my garden but I am far more sanguine about their presence as long as they all remain as small. Luckily I don't think I'll see one again as this is the first one spotted in 11 years of living here and although I will still be wary of snakes I am glad it was brought to my notice...