Devon SSSI nature reserve and eco lodges - Maggie's Blog
A grass snake...
I know snakes aren't everyone's cup of tea, but this beautiful creature is a grass snake, and perfectly harmless - unless you're a fog that is. And this baby is too small for that yet...
Friends found it, gummed up with glue, in a bit of damp cardboard on their wood pile. It couldn't uncoil itself, and even when helped, re-adhered itself each time it had a snooze. So they had it in a box, and were wondering what to do with it. When George heard this, he was all excitement - he's been wanting to find a grass snake for several years and of course wanted it for a pet.
It's not actually illegal to keep them as pets, though it is illegal to harm grass snakes in the wild, or willfully damage their habitat.
But that doesn't necessarily make it right though. This is a wild animal that should be enjoying a wild life.
Anyway, we decided to keep 'snaky' for a few days, at least until we could unglue him/her. We made a new home in a disused aquarium, added lots of damp compost (with attendant creepy crawlies), a log that's now growing mushrooms, and some water. Every couple of days I'd fish snaky out and gently tweeze a bit more gunge off. Within a week s/he it seemed fine.
But possibly hungry.
Hard to tell what such a small snake might eat - it's too late in the year for tadpoles. The only 'care manual' I could find on the internet talked about feeding young grass snakes 'pinkies', which I deduce are very tiny baby mice bred for the purpose. And that's not something I want to get into.
And grass snakes hibernate over winter, with captive ones needing care when they wake up - all to much to deal with.
So I managed to persuade George to let snaky go. That way s/he might have a chance to find something tasty to fuel hibernation, and hopefully a refuge to sleep off the winter.
Not in the wood pile though - our friends are moving house, and the logs will either go with them or be burnt by the next tennant.
So, you guessed it, we released snaky down by the big pond. Grass snakes are good swimmers as adults, and eat fish as well as frogs.
George carried snaky down there in his hands. I hope s/he is OK out there. Best of all would be if s/he grew up and found a mate. I'd love to see grass snakes enjoying the pond.
Apparently, fully grown grass snakes can reach 5 ft!
And yes, they're still totally harmless even then.