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Natrix - the longest!

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: Herpetofauna Native to the UK
Forum Name: Grass Snake
Forum Description: Forum for all issues concerning Natrix natrix
URL: http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=740
Printed Date: 23 Oct 2017 at 9:24pm
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Topic: Natrix - the longest!
Posted By: Robert V
Subject: Natrix - the longest!
Date Posted: 25 Sep 2004 at 12:09pm

 

Last wednesday, I saw the longest grass Snake that I have ever seen (and believe me, I've seen hundreds). I've just got the photos back from the developers and have reduced it so as to try to fit the thing on here. The previous longest female that I have caught and measured with a traditional tailors tape alllowing the grassie to run through my fingers slowly was 49 inches or 1.256 Metres.

There was no time for maxed out macro lenses or tripods on this, she was way too fast, I was a bag of nerves when I saw her and in a area of forest that I'm not familiar with. So I just took the shot knowing it was huge. Long after she had gone I measured the old rotting silver birch tree base as indicated and it was 13 (thirteen) inches. On the screen I've tried scaling it with the tape using the tree as an idicator (the best i could do in the circumstances) and come up with anything between 6 foot 3" to 6foot 6" or 1.92 -2.0 metres to the tip of the tail also shown with an arrow!!!

The late Malcolm Smith gave 'maximums' of 1.83 metres for females in 1969 and to think, thirty odd years later we still have one to match it leaves me simply astounded. I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it, so for your pleasure....Be amazed.



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RobV



Replies:
Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: 25 Sep 2004 at 1:14pm

Rob, I've received the picture this end but photobucket.com is refusing to load it, probably just a lot of people using the site on this wet Saturday afternoon. I'll try again later.

 



Posted By: evilmike
Date Posted: 25 Sep 2004 at 1:20pm
cant wait to see that, a good free site to use is http://www.fotki.com - www.fotki.com for hosting piccies.

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Mike Lister BSc hons Ecology & Env management


Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: 25 Sep 2004 at 1:48pm

and as if by magic....Rob's piccy.

Biggest grassie I ever saw was on Hindhead in an area of water meadow as Tony has observed, no idea of length she was coiled and off like a shot. I still can picture her head though, out of all proportion to any natrix I had seen before or since. I still wonder if I'll ever see one like that again one day.



Posted By: evilmike
Date Posted: 25 Sep 2004 at 6:13pm

one word i think 'crikey' what a specimen

:)

 



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Mike Lister BSc hons Ecology & Env management


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 26 Sep 2004 at 7:52pm

 

I've got the taste for it now mike, I want to find one even bigger! haha.



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RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 26 Sep 2004 at 7:55pm

 

Tony, is the water meadow you mention the same as a river flood plain? Don't think i've got any of those nearby.......unfortunately. Did keith manage to catch his one and if so did he take any pics? R



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RobV


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 10 Oct 2004 at 10:54am

Great specimen

I have heard that there was a 6 footer found last year in Bedfordshire (I think) We are trying to track down the photos as it was captured and it was in the hand with a massive head ----still havent seen the photos though they are in existence

In the old london news papers in the 1850's a 9ft grass snake was found in Colchester - perhaps a slight mistake perhaps the number was the wrong way up?

 



Posted By: rickanstis
Date Posted: 14 Oct 2004 at 11:45pm

Wow what a picture; you really get a feel for the size of this beauty. I had a report in 2002 of a 6' plus nn run over on Ranmore Common in Surrey, with exact location. By the time I got there (VERY fast) there was just a lot of marks on the roadside grass where something had been - either recovered and gone, or taken by scavengers, I'll never know. The guy who made the report was entirely credible and adamant about the length being 6' plus - he was a plumber, and said he knew how to estimate length of long pipes accurately. At the time I was wholly unconvinced. But now, I wonder ...                           Rick Anstis, Surrey ARG 



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with best wishes
Rick Anstis
Secretary, Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group
7 Arundel Road DORKING RH4 3HY


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2004 at 8:47pm

Rick,

a few years ago I saw a huge snake in the canal system that runs round the reservoirs in Chingford. I thought then that it was well over six feet but it was extremely dark in colour and in the water I couldn't get a photo to show it. It may have been an escaped pet, but now I doubt it. I think tony is right. When they get to this size they get extremely hard to catch and I've a feeling there are bigger examples out there. R 



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RobV


Posted By: Skywalker
Date Posted: 04 Nov 2004 at 9:33pm
Superb snake Robert thanks for the post - it warms the heart.

I saw a 6" grass snake, unfortunately dead - presumed a victim of off-roaders, way back before I become involved in conservation on Cliffe Marshes in the 1080's (Lee will inevitably tell me off for not logging the record - but this is probably the bottom of KRAGs' list right now).

This sort of thing makes me stop being a cold hearted 'bottom line' conservationist for a while and brings back the wonder - thanks.

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Simon (KRAG)


Posted By: Skywalker
Date Posted: 04 Nov 2004 at 9:37pm
I meant 1980's of course!

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Simon (KRAG)


Posted By: calumma
Date Posted: 04 Nov 2004 at 10:24pm
It may be the bottom of KRAG's list, but it's never too late to send me a record...!

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Lee Brady

Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant



mailto:recorder@calummaecologicalservices.co.uk - Email


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 05 Nov 2004 at 12:27am

 

Thanks Simon. It heartened me as well. It made up for all those times tramping around the forest and finding precisely nothing! Happy campaigning. R



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RobV


Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: 05 Nov 2004 at 9:17am

Interesting email this morning,

"as a youngster living in the Lake District (beside Lake Windermere) long grass snakes were not at all unusual. There were lots of damp meadows and of course some very undisturbed areas. How did people measure them? Well as they crossed unmetalled roads sometimes their heads and tails were out of sight and you were looking at the bit in between! - so over 6ft long."

Regards
Sue Dymond
 


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 07 Nov 2004 at 5:32pm

 

Yes, and there is a bigger one in Loch Ness as well!!!!!!!!! 0:)



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RobV


Posted By: Davew
Date Posted: 17 Nov 2004 at 5:35pm

In April this year at my regular Grass Snake site I first saw an individual that I estimated to be at least six feet. It was seen several times during the summer but only once photographed from a distance in the middle of the scrubby pond where I couldnt't venture to get comparitive feature measurements. On reflection and in comparison to the original photo in this thread my individual may have been even larger. Look carefully at the poor photo it coils around for most of the shot!!



Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 17 Nov 2004 at 8:51pm
Dave, thanks for the photo. It certainly is a very large snake but identification is difficult, wouldn't you agree? R

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RobV


Posted By: Davew
Date Posted: 17 Nov 2004 at 11:35pm

Hi, From the photograph itself yes id to species would be impossible (other shots in the batch taken at this time show it to be Natrix but don't adequately display the size) I'd have to check my notes but I saw it around five times, usually briefly, and it defintely was Grass Snake. As to actual size it would be also impossible from the photo and the equally bad series of shots also taken at this time. It was distant taken with a x8 and as mentioned I can't get to the actual spot to measure features as it's in the middle of a pond. Therefore I obviously can't conclusively claim it as a six foot plus specimen however, I have seen hundreds of Grass Snake and this was easily the largest I've ever seen. Unofficially and off the record I'd now say the one in the shot was over six feet and am just hoping it's evident next year and I manage to decently photograph it this time. It really was quite an experience to actually hear it almost thundering away whilst the sedge shook wildly and I hurriedly backed up!!! Incidentally whilst this one was present my usual average of three or four individuals per visit dropped right off to this one and occasionally another if I was lucky. Additionly Common Lizard numbers were way down during last season but others factors would come into play.



Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: 18 Nov 2004 at 11:29am

Dave, this is much like my Hindhead sighting of many years ago, I've no idea how long the snake was, but I do know from the head that it was massive compared to any N.n I had seen before or since. The above photograph gives me the impression of a very large snake indeed!

I think this thread will fire a few of us up for next season to get a confirmed 6ft+ :0)

Looks like you and Rob have a head start, as I doubt my Hindhead monster grassy is still around.. but you never know!



Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 19 Nov 2004 at 10:52am

 

maybe a wager would be in order then gems!



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RobV


Posted By: Alan Hyde
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2005 at 1:56pm
Back in the 80's I caught a large thick set grassy measuring 4ft6 with about 5-6 ins missing off the tail .
I kept her for a couple of days (Because I was young and totally in awe of her) then let her go where I found her .
A couple of weeks later I heard of a local lad bragging how he'd killed a Huge 'adder' while canoeing on the lake . I asked him to show me the snake and sure enough it was her , identifiable by the tail
Tony's quite right about the large grassys being just as agile and likely to bite. In march this year myself and a friend encountered this beauty out at brookwood . She was just under 4ft , defensive , and bit my friend (hehe , snigger )
She also did a great imperso.. eer , insnakeonation of a naja.
Here's naja natrix


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2005 at 7:38pm
That is such a great photo! She would definitely have a go at you if she got the chance! R

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RobV


Posted By: Alan Hyde
Date Posted: 25 Apr 2005 at 4:45am
Thanks alot Robert , most kind of you .

Oh , she was and awkward subject for sure , never stopped moving .
She slid along the path with upper third of the body raised repeatedly striking cobra style .
My friend who I was with got a better picture , view from the front of her striking towards the camera . I'll try to some how get a copy off of him .
Cheers Robert,
Alan


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2006 at 4:58pm

Just read through this for the first time - fascinating!

So have any biggies been found this year?

 

Paul

 



Posted By: Davew
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2006 at 7:34pm
Well the beast I saw and badly photographed in 2004 was seen a couple of times in 2005 but only very briefly and not photographed again. Sadly not seen at all this year. Still got a few monsters anyway with four feet being the rough average. Did see a real tiddler this year, probably just under a foot long and by a long way the smallest I've ever seen at this site.


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 21 Apr 2008 at 12:45pm

I just thought I'd whet everyone's appetite by resurrecting this thread...

Anyone got any pictures - not worried when they were taken - I'd just love to see somebody holding a 5 footer....

Paul 



Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2008 at 12:27pm

 

Ok so I set out today for kent at the crack of dawn (you know where Gemma!) and caught this monster for which I'm claiming largest. It measured 70 inches from snout to vent but what was more impressive was the girth.... 9inches around the section closest to the camera!!! 9 inches! It was like a bl**dy boa constrictor, I kid you not. I've got pretty badly bitten which drew copious amounts of blood. I'll let you know of the progress of the bite, but its not something I recommend.

Here she is. So who's the daddy?! 



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RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2008 at 12:40pm
Mmmmm

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RobV


Posted By: Davew
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2008 at 12:42pm
Well I've seen longer but certainly never seen thicker - nice one. I was under the impression that all "southern" snakes were a bit wimpy ;-)


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2008 at 12:47pm

 

Oh yeah, by the way, in case there's any doubters among the 'mendip boys', yes i do have photos of me holding it and also of it clamped to my hand! But, guess what, you'll have to wait for the mark 2 version of my book to see them!!! Lol



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RobV


Posted By: calumma
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2008 at 1:12pm
Hey come on, I want to see the blood!

I did once see a really large grassy at a Kent site. Again, it wasn't so
much the length but the girth that was impressive. Poor photo, but
should give you an idea. JC knows this site.



Robert - if you don't mind sharing your site info, please send me a
private email. I'd be really interested in getting this in the db.


Lee


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Lee Brady

Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant



mailto:recorder@calummaecologicalservices.co.uk - Email


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2008 at 2:51pm

Hi Robert,

I'm not doubting you but I would love to see a piccie of you holding it. Go on, don't be such a tease - I promise to buy your next book as well

Paul



Posted By: st rick
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2008 at 5:44am

Robert,

It's impossible to judge the length of the snake in the photo supplied.  If anything it looks smaller than the other 'big snake' pics published over the months and, sadly, proves nothing.

70 inches, or a more impressive sounding 5 feet 8 inches, would be a new British record according to my sources ('British Wildlife' Arlott Fitter and Fitter, Collins, 1993).  They state the British record is 5 feet 7 inches.  I can't understand why anyone claiming the record wouldn't want to publicise it more widely than in a privately published book?  scratchhead.gif

 

 



Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2008 at 7:49am

Rick,

you can't understand why??? How about sales numbers! hahaha. A privately published book with good press releases is likely to gain a wider public distribution than a specialised web site and hey, I can claim the record anytime as its highly unlikely that anyone will find one bigger this year, or next year come to that. And as for "it doesn't look as big as the other one, you have my assurances that it was larger, not longer.

Cheers chaps!



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RobV


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2008 at 8:00am

Rob,

So it's all about financial gain then?

If you post up a pic, you can still sell your privately published book with a good press release and claim the record etc later - afterall, as you say, this is only a  specialised web site.

It would also make quite a few members on here very happy.

As a compormise, why don't you post up a piccie or two for a couple of days and then remove them or something?

Paul 



Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2008 at 9:00am
Hi Lee

That looks like the snake I found on that site in 2002 - but for the life of me I cannot find the photo of it I placed it on the ground after it feigned death and it was against my boots in the picture.

I will keep looking for it on my computer somewhere.

Jon


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Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2008 at 9:40am
I will be out at my field sites this week to look for a reported snake which was across a track approx 15ft in width (the track) - the snake was half way across the track and its tail was in the undergrowth while its head was in the middle of the track - Possibly a 6footer who knows

Snakes around this area hibernate in small areas of woodland so I will be checking these over the next few weeks

I will let you know




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Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2008 at 12:09pm

Lee,

give me a couple of days and I'll PM you the Ordnance Survey Grid reference for the area, but I don't think its giving too much away to say its on the Isle of grain, i suppose you know the sites?

Rob



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RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2008 at 12:12pm

Ps,

but Lee, just one thing, if I send you place, if you find it, please don't put it in captivity. Thanks



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RobV


Posted By: calumma
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2008 at 12:31pm
Thanks Rob.

Originally posted by Robert V Robert V wrote:

Ps,


but Lee, just one thing, if I send you place, if you find it,please don't put
it in captivity. Thanks



Never have, never would.

Lee



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Lee Brady

Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant



mailto:recorder@calummaecologicalservices.co.uk - Email


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 25 Apr 2008 at 1:20am
Lee, thanks and heres her profile so that you can compare, but I wouldn't think there will be any doubt. I used a towell as it was a bit messy!

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RobV


Posted By: longcrippler
Date Posted: 25 Apr 2008 at 11:22am
So what's with this "Snout to vent" business? Is this the official way of measuring a snake? I assume that most of this talk of six-footers is about total length? Unless you have the snake in your hand, any assessment of length is going to be a guess, and surely most people would guess the entire length, and not try to take off a percentage for the tail? Can somebody clarify this for me please? I haven't come across a grass snake longer than a meter or so (including tail) since I was young when of course they were all monstrous like anacondas!


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 26 Apr 2008 at 7:29pm
Snout to vent is the standard way of measurement simple -

You can measure the tail aswell I suppose to get the total length - I regularly find grass snakes well over a metre in total length.

Rob - the snake is reasonably sized but the photo does not really give an impression of the actual size of the snake really - come on a full length shot with you in it lol

J


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Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 26 Apr 2008 at 7:31pm
Catching the larger snakes is far more of a challenge - as they are that big for a reason, I do like to catch grass snakes if I am needing a measurement to claim the largest - SVL and or TL would suffice

Now are we going to debate the use of squash boxes, measuring tape or rules?


J


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Report your sightings to the Record Pool http://recordpool.org.uk" rel="nofollow - http://arguk.org/recording


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 01 May 2009 at 3:57pm

Tony,

aren't you conveniently forgetting this baby that was easily six foot and I can show anyone exactly the tree that I measured for width and from where the photo was taken. maybe the Frnsham one was six foot, but this one was more than that. I think it even out did the one I found last year in term sof length.

I would suggest that there will never be one as long as this again because Grass Snake sizes are reducing in the UK. The only place that might be capable of holding one is in one of Keiths stomping grounds in Suffolk

Cheers

Rob



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RobV


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 21 Aug 2009 at 1:45pm

Rob,

When's your new book coming out then? I''m still desperate to see a photo of you holding it

Paul



Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 03 Sep 2009 at 5:20pm

Hello Paul,

 

I'll probably start doing a re write - edit when the weather turns and there's nothing else then to do!

I'll let you know when it can be seen. Well worth the wait. But I won't be putting details of location in the book, its hard enough to find them as it is.

Cheers

Rob



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RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 11 Nov 2009 at 5:47pm

Hey Chris,

I just looked at my original post and my photos gone missing with the note that Gemma's account is dormant? And its not on Photobucket either - at least not what I can see.

Have you still got it??



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RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 01 Dec 2009 at 5:32pm

I'll take a look see if I still have it



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RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2010 at 8:56pm

And just as a reminder to all those hunters out there - you wished!



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RobV


Posted By: Davew
Date Posted: 17 Feb 2010 at 3:37pm

Don't forget the northern monster - your's is from darrrrn sarrrrf matey



Posted By: AGILIS
Date Posted: 17 Feb 2010 at 4:45pm
ITS A BLOODY SLOWORM

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   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 27 Oct 2010 at 7:26pm

I picked up a scrambler today from a farmer in Somerset. The location looked like perfect natrix country so I couldn't help but ask if they were in the vicinity.

He seemed very interested in my interest and sort of "checked me out" before telling me that nearby there are some monsters and told me some stories. One was from 3 or 4 years ago of a woman who ran  over an absolute monster that was crossing a country lane. She ran it over with both wheels and the tail was still off the road so the estimated length was geting on for 10 feet!!

Now thats the first time I've heard anyone quote 10 feet for a grassie and I'm sure its an exaggeration but even so if there is some truth in the story it must have been pretty darn big!

I know similar stories have already been quoted in this thread and this could be just a (sub)urban legend or just maybe it could be something that does happen from time to time...?

Either way I've made a note of the location and I will be checking it out next year. (Oh, and if I do find a monster I promise to post up some photos of me holding it (if I'm not too scared to pick it up)).

Paul



Posted By: Jonathan
Date Posted: 27 Oct 2010 at 7:43pm
A snake that size is going to unleash a serious skunking if you pick it up.

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"England Expects"


Posted By: Suzi
Date Posted: 28 Oct 2010 at 8:16pm
Paul no doubt you'll have to use some of that stitching-photos-together software unless you want us to look at one of those snakes in sections as it'll never fit on one photo

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Suz


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2012 at 9:18pm

Hi Folks, been meaning to post an update on this for ages....

I checked out the place rumoured to have the monsters and whilst I did see a snake it was well within the normal size range... I also spoke to a local who lived near to the spot where allegedly the monster had been run over and she knew nothing about it and had never even seen a snake herself in the 20 plus years she had lived there Cry

This, in part, has led me to the conclusion that the stories of snakes being run over on a track with their head over one side and their tail over the other etc are more than likely cobblers! However, I do now know that very large grass snakes do exist....

In the summer on the Mendips I came across the largest grass snake I have ever seen. I stepped over a bank and there it was coming towards me, heading for the cover to my left. It was VERY fast and took me completely by surprise - even though it was coming at me I only managed to grab its tail - I had two hands on it but the rest of the snake was in the undergrowth and she was pulling very hard, so hard in fact that I was worried I might hurt her I had to let her go.

Now what is interesting is that I don't know how long it was - I mean I know more about grass snakes than the average Joe Public and I'm pretty good at estimating the length of the typical grassie within a few inches, but this one was in a different league and one which I have no experience of. Had the snake been stretched out straight (like they do when they get run overWink) I could have made an educated guess but whilst on the move it is VERY difficult to say, it was chunky and certainly "over 4 feet"...

I joined my local RAG recently (don't know why I haven't joined before!?) and was very pleased when the chairman (Andy RyderStar) told me he had a large natrix slough that had been handed in - measuring a tadge under 6 feet !!

This got my attention and I just had to see it!

What was strange is that although I saw it laid out on the desk in front of me and we measured it at 5 feet 10 inches (see below) - it didn't look as big as I thought it would! It wasn't as thick and the head was smaller than I had anticipated (although the head wasn't in great shape). Now don't get me wrong it is VERY impressive and I was chuffed to bits to see it - my conclusion is that either I've read too many of Rob V's postsWink or maybe the one I saw on the Mendips was bigger than I thought Shocked (or perhaps this was “just” a male!!)

 
Either way, enjoy:

 

 

 

 

Interestingly, if you lay out the slough in a serpentine fashion (ie an S shape) it is very difficult to guess the length if you just get a fleeting glance (don't you agree?)

 



Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2012 at 10:09pm
I might have already posted on this thread as it's quite old, but just to repeat if so, there were plenty of large grassies in the southern Lake District when I lived there in the 1960s. Lots of suitable habitat and very undisturbed. Probably still plenty.

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Suz


Posted By: rickanstis
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 1:41am
Delighted to see this corres re-invigorated!
I had a report in 2009 from Box Hill, Surrey, from a very excited electrician, had seen a Grass Snake run over by the car in front of him when driving along , and " knew how to measure pipe and cable by eye, so could say for sure that it was over six feet long". It went on moving to the roadside (!) but then was motionless. He was scared to pick it up. When I went to the location he gave me (probably three hours later) there was no sign of said snake; but quite a lot of disturbance etc to the vegetation, so I'm happy to beleive that something was there ...
I think when you see this sort of thing: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4112450/Big-cat-news-6ft-leapard-like-beast-captured-on-video-in-Stroud.html - http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4112450/Big-cat-news-6ft-leapard-like-beast-captured-on-video-in-Stroud.html
and get beyond the BS, you do at least appreciate the difficulties of accurate measurmement by eye, especially in times of high excitement; the lack of benchmarks; and the unlikelihood that even in this iPhone age you're going to get a decent, believable photo from many witnesses. And those great slough shots in prev posts add the problem of 'stretching' of an 'empty' skin when trying to measure the size of the original wearer!
Great debate - keep it up! Let's have loads more evidence!
Cheers all
Rick
Richard Anstis, Secretary, Surrey ARG


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with best wishes
Rick Anstis
Secretary, Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group
7 Arundel Road DORKING RH4 3HY


Posted By: Mark_b
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 8:59am

How big would you say this girl is?


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http://www.wgarg.co.uk/">


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 10:52am
Hmmm looks like an old snake, large head, faded collar, very stout but not comparitively long...? Possibly a leading question too...? Trying to get some perspective from the size of the grass around it I'd say not huge - but being a big old female an educated guess would be between 3 and 4 feet but the truth is I have no idea!
 
It would be interesting to see what others think before you reveal the true length (unless of course you don't you know either and were just wondering Wink)
 
Paul


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 11:42am
I would be surprised if she's much over 3ft nose to vent - but as the theme goes in this thread it's hard to tell. She's obviously a stately old girl but does the way females become thickset with age make us think they are exceptionally long I wonder? 



Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 5:31pm
I agree with Gemma, a little over 3 feet, but stocky with it.
 
But I think what Rick said is very true, it's all about bench marks.
 
Paul, I was surprised when you said the slough measured five foot ten inches.
 
Those type of desks (oblong with two semi circle efforts) I thought the oblong part was 1200mm??
 
1200mm :- 25.641 = nearly 47 inches under 4 foot. The tail finshes about two inches shy of the end of the oblong section, but with the addition of about a foot at the nearer end. Surely that should be four foot nine inches, not five foot nine inches????
 
Inspector Clueso


-------------
RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 5:37pm
Suzy,
 
when you say southern lake district, what were the closest towns / villages?
 
It's a big old area!
 
RWacko


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RobV


Posted By: Paul Hudson
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 7:16pm
Hi Rob, Are you coming up here on the natrix hunt then ? I know a very good site in south lakes ,I've not seen these humungus specimens though!

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Paul Hudson


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 8:43pm
Rusland Valley, Finsthwaite area, western shores of Lake Windermere, land between Lake Windermere and Coniston Water...
I lived at Graythwaite, a private estate, bordering Lake Windermere and there were plenty about there and the other areas I mention.


-------------
Suz


Posted By: sussexecology
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 9:35pm
Originally posted by rickanstis rickanstis wrote:

Delighted to see this corres re-invigorated!
I had a report in 2009 from Box Hill, Surrey, from a very excited electrician, had seen a Grass Snake run over by the car in front of him when driving along , and " knew how to measure pipe and cable by eye, so could say for sure that it was over six feet long". It went on moving to the roadside (!) but then was motionless. He was scared to pick it up. When I went to the location he gave me (probably three hours later) there was no sign of said snake; but quite a lot of disturbance etc to the vegetation, so I'm happy to beleive that something was there ...
I think when you see this sort of thing: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4112450/Big-cat-news-6ft-leapard-like-beast-captured-on-video-in-Stroud.html - http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4112450/Big-cat-news-6ft-leapard-like-beast-captured-on-video-in-Stroud.html
and get beyond the BS, you do at least appreciate the difficulties of accurate measurmement by eye, especially in times of high excitement; the lack of benchmarks; and the unlikelihood that even in this iPhone age you're going to get a decent, believable photo from many witnesses. And those great slough shots in prev posts add the problem of 'stretching' of an 'empty' skin when trying to measure the size of the original wearer!
Great debate - keep it up! Let's have loads more evidence!
Cheers all
Rick
Richard Anstis, Secretary, Surrey ARG
 
Hi Rick
 
Couldn't help noticing that you are based in Surrey.
 
Got a site in your region where we found a large female grassie, and it was pretty big. It was curled up and warming up at the time so my colleague and I didn't really want to disturb it too much, Wish we had taken a measurement - because it was certainly was a big one! Sorry that can't be of more help than that. 
 
Has anyone measured the width of a grassie before - just wondered how wide they get too. Just out of curosity really,  not that grass snakes need to go on a diet of course!Smile
 
Nice pics too by the way.


Posted By: rickanstis
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 11:56pm
Many thanks for that, Sussex Ecology. If you wouldn't mind could you go to our website please: http://www.surrey-arg.org.uk - www.surrey-arg.org.uk  and report the sighting online? (just follow the tabs and click on the map, it's all pretty straightforward) Sincere thanks. And same goes for anyone else with any herp records in the vice County of Surrey, from anywhere, anytime: do PLEASE submit your sightings online, no matter how vague or how commonplace a species - it's really easy, and could save a site from inappropriate development. And for details on sizes etc please see our species pages and/or purchase 'Amphibians and Reptiles of Surrey' from Surrey Wildlife Trust. Cheers all, Rick 

-------------
with best wishes
Rick Anstis
Secretary, Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group
7 Arundel Road DORKING RH4 3HY


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 10 Feb 2012 at 7:33am
Originally posted by Robert V Robert V wrote:

 
Paul, I was surprised when you said the slough measured five foot ten inches.
 
Those type of desks (oblong with two semi circle efforts) I thought the oblong part was 1200mm??
 
1200mm :- 25.641 = nearly 47 inches under 4 foot. The tail finshes about two inches shy of the end of the oblong section, but with the addition of about a foot at the nearer end. Surely that should be four foot nine inches, not five foot nine inches????
 
Inspector Clueso
 
Rob, I don't know if you noticed but there is a tape neasure in the photos - I normally find this is a more accurate way of measuring things rather than estimating the size of nearby objects and extrapolating backwards. It's 70 inches long - that's 5 feet 10 inches!


Posted By: JohnBaker
Date Posted: 10 Feb 2012 at 9:42am
Hello Paul - is it possible that the slough you looked at was not from a (UK) grass snake?  It was 'handed in' wasn't it?  From where?  From the photos (on my computer screen at least) I wouldn't be able to say that the slough was definitely a grass snake.  So do you think it is possible that it's from a different species - escaped pet etc?  As you say, not only is it ususually long, but it is also unusually slender with that small head.  I'm not challenging your credentials on this - you've seen it.  What do you think?
 
John Baker


-------------
John Baker


Posted By: Mark_b
Date Posted: 10 Feb 2012 at 2:34pm
Originally posted by Paul Ford Paul Ford wrote:

.... I normally find this is a more accurate way of measuring things rather than estimating the size of nearby objects and extrapolating backwards.


LOL

Big Bertha was wondernig if anyone else is going to guess her length?





-------------
http://www.wgarg.co.uk/">


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 10 Feb 2012 at 5:02pm
Hi Paul - not wanting to rain on your parade at all re the 5 foot 10 slough, but are you sure it belongs to a Natrix?  any possibility that it could be from an escapee such as a king snake?  also sloughs can stretch 10 to 30% so the actual size could be just over 4 foot, which is still impressive, for sure

Cheers

Will


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 10 Feb 2012 at 6:24pm
Hi Will,
 
As far as we can tell its natrix - but I'm no expert on sloughs. And I'm aware that the sloughs do stretch...
 
What do you make of this then! (CARE: Bad language!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGLuYJ9NQCA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGLuYJ9NQCA

About 45 seconds in they find a massive slough.... - NB the rest of the video is just them walking around!?

 

Paul


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 10 Feb 2012 at 8:27pm
Originally posted by Paul Ford Paul Ford wrote:

(CARE: Bad language!)




a thoroughly justifiable warning (eg "look at this ****!")

herpetologists are so uncouth.


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 10 Feb 2012 at 9:00pm
Hi Paul

reckon that one's a case for Arthur C Clark's Mysterious World...  or perhaps the lads had a tame constrictor provide the slough..


Posted By: sussexecology
Date Posted: 10 Feb 2012 at 10:34pm
 
 


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2012 at 1:55am
Originally posted by Paul Ford Paul Ford wrote:

[QUOTE=Robert V]
  
Rob, I don't know if you noticed but there is a tape neasure in the photos - I normally find this is a more accurate way of measuring things rather than estimating the size of nearby objects and extrapolating backwards. It's 70 inches long - that's 5 feet 10 inches!
 
LOL ... Shift+R improves the quality of this image. CTRL+F5 reloads the whole page.
 
That's a really nasty old scar on the side of big bertha, impressive looking beast she is.
 
R


-------------
RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2012 at 1:59am
Originally posted by Paul Hudson Paul Hudson wrote:

Hi Rob, Are you coming up here on the natrix hunt then ? I know a very good site in south lakes ,I've not seen these humungus specimens though!
 
Hello Paul,
 
yeah, I'm due some time off in April (I missed out last spring) so I might widen my net for a year or two, try to pin down these stories of the humungus ones.
 
Southern lakes and somerset levels as well as another visit to kent, must find a least a couple of biggies.
 
And I've heard by chance that theres a four foot Adder in Thetford forest. Apparently it was seen by someone on a slow cycle ride basking next to one of the bridle ways. Anyone heard of that??
 
R


-------------
RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2012 at 2:04am
Originally posted by Paul Ford Paul Ford wrote:

Hi Will,
 
As far as we can tell its natrix - but I'm no expert on sloughs. And I'm aware that the sloughs do stretch...
 
What do you make of this then! (CARE: Bad language!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGLuYJ9NQCA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGLuYJ9NQCA

About 45 seconds in they find a massive slough.... - NB the rest of the video is just them walking around!?

 

Paul
 
Yes I did see that on you tube, also on you tube, theres a short clip of a captive natrix taking pinkie mice as food. Must have taken a fair bit of taming to get them to do that!


-------------
RobV


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2012 at 2:59pm
Regarding pinkies, it seems that some of the captive natrix from European stock will take them. Still yet to see a UK specimen do it, though I'm told some will. My observations show they will sniff them, even mouth them but I've never yet seen a UK natrix actually eat one.


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2012 at 4:34pm
Originally posted by Robert V
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>yeah, I'm due some time off in April (I missed out last spring) so I might widen my net for a year or two, try to pin down these stories of the humungus ones.</DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>Southern lakes and somerset levels as well as another visit to kent, must find a least a couple of biggies.</DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>R</DIV>[/QUOTE Robert V
 
yeah, I'm due some time off in April (I missed out last spring) so I might widen my net for a year or two, try to pin down these stories of the humungus ones.
 
Southern lakes and somerset levels as well as another visit to kent, must find a least a couple of biggies.
 
 
R
[/QUOTE wrote:


 
Rob - my offer still stands for showing you a couple of good sites on the mendips... 
 
btw one of the stories of the humungus ones comes from you.....!!!?! - was it a wind up then..Con</td></tr></table> 
<DIV></DIV>
<DIV></DIV>
<DIV></DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>Rob - my offer still stands for showing you a couple of good sites on the mendips... </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>btw one of the stories of the humungus ones comes from you.....!!!?! - was it a wind up then..<img src=
 
Paul


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2012 at 5:10pm
Originally posted by GemmaJF GemmaJF wrote:

Regarding pinkies, it seems that some of the captive natrix from European stock will take them. Still yet to see a UK specimen do it, though I'm told some will. My observations show they will sniff them, even mouth them but I've never yet seen a UK natrix actually eat one.
 
When I was a horrible kid I kept a 3 and a half footer for a couple of weeks and got her to take a dead (obviously!) mackerel - I dangled it in front of her on a long pair of forceps and prodded and poked her with it until she grabbed it (I remember thinking that maybe she saw it as some kind of threat but once she had grabbed it she decided to scoff itSmile)
 
A while later I had to clean up the smelliest, nastiest grass snake poo in historyWink
 
And before anyone says it.. yes, I have now grown up into a horrible adultLOL


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2012 at 7:26pm
Originally posted by Paul Ford Paul Ford wrote:

[QUOTE=Robert V
  
Rob - my offer still stands for showing you a couple of good sites on the mendips... 
 
btw one of the stories of the humungus ones comes from you.....!!!?! - was it a wind up then..Confused
 
Paul
 
Hi Paul,
 
yeah thanks for the offer, I might even get over to your neck of the woods. And no, it wasn't a wind up, far from it, but I haven't seen it again in four visits. I'm wondering if its in an aquarium somewhere, but why?
 
And also, those guys on you tube, was that in kent?? I would imagine the biggie I witnessed there would have shed something in that region. I hope they didn't find it.
 
R


-------------
RobV


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2012 at 5:26pm
 
 
And also, those guys on you tube, was that in kent?? I would imagine the biggie I witnessed there would have shed something in that region. I hope they didn't find it.
 
R
 
I've no idea where it was - I'm no good with accentsConfused (although I think they said 'Kent' a couple of timesWink)
 
Paul


Posted By: sussexecology
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2012 at 9:49pm
That looked like Kent to me.....
Can't wait till see some grass snakes (and adders too) this year....
just waiting for that all important mild weather.
Keeping close eye on forecasts but apparently the cold weather is coming back.
What a shame Geek
Was starting to get excited....Party
Never mind eh, spring will be here soon.....


Posted By: JaySteel
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2012 at 5:47pm
My friends think I'm crazy when I give 'reptiles emerging from hibernation' as my main reason to look forward to the coming Spring! I'm glad I'm in the company of like-minded crazy folk.

Jason


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2012 at 8:10pm
Not long now. Usually it is about the 14th I dust off my field gear for my first full day of the season in the field. This year though it was cold and we did a round trip to Wales to buy stuff for my sons car instead. Working on the car though today, the sun came out and I could feel the warmth in it for the first time this year. All we need is some clear days now.


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2012 at 9:03pm
Think I've said before but when younger I used to do a lot of fishing (in the Lake District - brown trout, char, sea trout, pike, perch, eels etc.) Well just as eagerly as emerging reptiles we were on the starting blocks for the first day of the fishing season. It was very early - about 6th March - and it used to be so cold. We'd be there trying to catch trout in the sleet and snow and all sorts - flipping perishing. As we waited for this magical time of year we used to reckon we could feel our dorsal fins twitching! Whatever the weather we were always there on the first day - MAD!
Keeping to the subject I did spend 35 mins sat by my pond this afternoon watching for newts and frogs. It was 10degC, but with a cool breeze. I either saw 3 frogs - or one frog three times, 3 newts - or one newt three times! Just been out in the dark with a torch but nothing stirring in the pond.


-------------
Suz


Posted By: sussexecology
Date Posted: 17 Feb 2012 at 12:02am
Thanks for that Suz and Gemma
Must admit I was sat in the office when the sun came out today and I started to think about my adders emerging. If the sun shines a bit more, I'll be out and about for sure....
 
Suz, probably the same newt going round and round in circles just to confuse you. Don't know why they do that, but they seem to know when you're watching.  Happy newting.
 
That's a reminder as well to make sure that all the torches are working before going out in the field. LOL
 
Jay,
No, your're not crazy folk at all.
Glad to have your enthusiasm on here Smile
 


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 17 Feb 2012 at 8:58pm
Torch search tonight revealed one frog poking its head out of my pond at 7pm.

-------------
Suz


Posted By: sussexecology
Date Posted: 21 Feb 2012 at 10:46pm

Check out the weather forecast for Saturday,...... before they change their minds

Full sunshine all day Smile

Petty mild too - about 8oC they reckon (although could do with being a bit higher than that must admit)

Just need a few more days like that, ....but I'm very tempted to go out at the weekend and find an adder, or two..


Smile


Posted By: JaySteel
Date Posted: 22 Feb 2012 at 3:52pm
Originally posted by sussexecology sussexecology wrote:


 I'm very tempted to go out at the weekend and find an adder, or two..  

That's my plan for Saturday as well! Bring on my first adder of 2012!

Jason


Posted By: Ophiuchus
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2012 at 12:46pm
Hey Paul (Ford) remember this beauty from Dorset a few years ago?










-------------
Ophiuchus *~*the serpent bearer*~*


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2012 at 8:59am

I sure do!

If you and Mark are up for another visit this April then let me know!

Paul


Posted By: JamesM
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2012 at 10:40am
That is a monster!
 
Great find!


Posted By: JamesM
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2012 at 10:42am
Originally posted by Paul Ford Paul Ford wrote:

I sure do!

If you and Mark are up for another visit this April then let me know!

Paul
 
I may even tag along for that one if it's OK with Mark and Jason! I've been wanting to see a big Grass snake properly in the wild for a long time.


Posted By: arvensis
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2012 at 5:24pm
I'll try and sort and sort something with you Paul, either Purbeck or the Mendips, I'm not fussy. I don't have many days off in April, so the options are not as much as I want.


Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2012 at 6:06pm
Originally posted by Mark_b Mark_b wrote:

Originally posted by Paul Ford Paul Ford wrote:

.... I normally find this is a more accurate way of measuring things rather than estimating the size of nearby objects and extrapolating backwards.


LOL

Big Bertha was wondernig if anyone else is going to guess her length?





Posted By: Paul Ford
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2012 at 6:07pm

So..... how long was Bertha....?

 
Paul


Posted By: Mark_b
Date Posted: 03 Apr 2012 at 9:34pm



Originally posted by Paul
Ford Paul Ford wrote:

an educated guess would be between 3 and 4 feet but the truth is I have no idea!

Originally posted by GemmaJF GemmaJF wrote:

I would be surprised if she's much over 3ft nose to vent

Originally posted by Robert V Robert V wrote:

a little over 3 feet

 

Total length – 100.5cm (3 feet 3916 inches)

Snout to vent – 83.5cm (2 feet 8⅞ inches)

Smile



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http://www.wgarg.co.uk/">



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