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Sighting of a smooth snake

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jpwoodward View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 May 2003 at 9:57pm

I believe I recently found a smooth snake on the Gower Peninsular. It was lying on the side of the cliff path not moving (but alive).

Is it unusual to find this sort of snake in this area?

If so is there anyone who should be informed?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2003 at 10:19am

My thoughts also Caleb,

JP, the relevent ID pages are:

http://www.gjscenics.co.uk/rauk/Smooth%20Snake.htm

http://www.gjscenics.co.uk/rauk/Slow%20worm.htm

I've also heard of juvenille adders being mistaken as Smooth Snakes on occasion.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jpwoodward Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2003 at 3:21pm

Sorry. I didn't get a photo of it.

I didn't resemble a slow worm in any way (markings/shape was all wrong).

The snake was about 35-40cm long with round black eyes, light beige coloured body with brown patterning. There was a marking resembling an M on its head. It didn't have a particularly well defined head. The surface of its body appeared quite smooth (no clearly defined scales). The snake was lying beside a path along a cliff top covered with a lot of small bushes/ferns/small trees.

One of the people who saw the snake did think it might have been a juvenille adder, but wasn't sure.

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Martin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Martin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2003 at 6:21pm

I've got 2 young corn snakes here at the minute that were both wild caught in Hampshire this year and ended up being picked up by the RSPCA. I reckon that there's a few foreign species that will cope with our wilds.

Martin.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2003 at 8:50pm

JP the light biege with brown patterning and M shape on head all suggest that it might have been an adder to me, did the pattern resemble the zigzag or indented stripe of the adders on the ID page? I also recall, but I'm afraid I do not have the reference now, that it is or was a common species of the Gower peninsular.

The dark round eye, and smooth scales and indistinct head, suggest otherwise from the general description of the species I've given on this website. However, to see the red iris and vertically slit pupil, distinct head scalation and ridging to the scales takes fairly close examination, some would argue far too close for the casual observer.

The first thing that always strikes me about adders is that they appear quite thickset, where as the other 2 native species are slender.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote j gaughan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2003 at 3:44pm
JP's snake does point to VB, but you never know. Of the numerous CA reports that i've received over the years, only a handfull lay within it's known range eg. Hants & the Dorest coast. Intriguing 'heath' reports have come from Berks & Cornwall, but most are probably mis-ID's eg. the one crossing the river at Boxhill & even on the central rough at Ascot Racecourse. When a sea-wall outside Portsmouth can turn up the real thing, we're reminded that all our herps can, on occaision, be found almost anywhere in the UK _like the healthy animal picked up, 30 yrs ago, crossing a road in Essex.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alan Hyde Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2003 at 4:02pm

Thanks Tony , very interesting. I must get to see a smooth snake in the wild someday .

Cheers,

Alan

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