European grass snake males reach an average total length of about 75 cm, females are significantly longer with 85-152 cm. However, lengths of more than 110 cm are very rarely reached by females. On the back of the head there are two yellow to orange crescent-shaped spots. On the mostly gray, sometimes also brownish or greenish upperpart there are often four to six rows of small black spots. Black animals occur, and can be recognized by typical features of scaling and markings: The dorsal scales of the European grass snake are keeled (unlike those of the similar-looking Aesculapian snake), and the shield in front of the eye (preoculars) is undivided. The head is covered on top with large shields and is individually distinct (sometimes barely pronounced) from the neck or body. The pupils are round.
European grass snakes inhabit a very wide range of open to semi-open habitats. These are characterized by the presence of water bodies and biotope mosaics with diverse vegetation structures. Dry winter habitats, oviposition and basking sites, as well as hunting grounds for the different age classes are sometimes located in close proximity to each other, and in some cases the snakes have to cover greater distances (≫ 1 km) during the course of the year. In the latter cases, separate wetland (e.g., marshes, floodplains) and terrestrial habitats (forests and their edges, gardens, and many others) can often be identified in the overall habitat (as is the case for some amphibians).
Typical sites include streams, rivers, ditch systems, ponds and lakes, wet meadows, bogs, swamps, and their respective environments. European grass snakes are also regularly observed in deciduous and pine forests, along railroad embankments, on natural (upland) and artificial (slag heaps) slopes, parks and gardens.
The text is a translation of an excerpt from Wikipedia (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringelnatter). On wikipedia the text is available under a „Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike“ licence. Status: 26 May 2021