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Smooth Snake

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A numerous but rarely seen snake species on the Dorset heaths but nationally rare.



Smooth Snake: a real smoothie

Post date: Monday, 23 March, 2015 - 00:00

All of our three native British species of snake are now scarce to say the least but the smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) is nationally rare. In Dorset, however, thanks to the large area of remaining lowland heath which is now a protected habitat they are actually quite well established. Despite this they are rarely seen as they are very shy and secretive creatures and you are very fortunate if you encounter one. 

It is a small, slender snake with what I consider to be a very gentle face! They are not, however, gentle creatures and are quite capable of killing lizards and slow-worms as part of their diet. They are constrictors squeezing their victim to death before swallowing them whole. They are not venomous and are totally harmless to human beings

As their name implies, their skin is smooth to touch as the scales lie flat and this, as well as their size and pale brown blotched skin, tells them apart from the other two species. That said, they are a protected species and should not be handled without a licence to do so as they need to be treated with care to avoid injury,

It is such a shame many people dislike, or are even frightened of, snakes. They are truly awesome animals in my view.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Smooth Snake
Scientific Name Coronella austriaca
Interest Level
Species Family Snakes
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
H1: Dry Heath Indicator