RAUK - Archived Forum - Natrix - the longest!

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Natrix - the longest!:

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Robert V
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Joined: 06 Aug 2004
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Posted: 25 Sep 2004

 

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.


RobV
Tony Phelps
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Joined: 09 Mar 2003
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Posted: 25 Sep 2004
Keith Corbett had a grass snake at 6' in the 1960s at Frensham. The longest I have had was 5'6" at Lulworth in Dorset.Many over 4', heathland grass snakes don't seem to get quite as large as some that you see in such as water meadows. The largest male was 4'5" from East Burnham Common near Burnham Beeches in the 1970s.

Grass snakes are a different animal when large size, they are the ones most like to bite. Also, some may have noticed, that despite large size they are just as agile. (And boy don't they cr..p a lot!!!)

T
GemmaJF
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Joined: 25 Jan 2003
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Posted: 25 Sep 2004

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.

 


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
evilmike
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Joined: 15 May 2004
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Posted: 25 Sep 2004
cant wait to see that, a good free site to use is www.fotki.com for hosting piccies.
Mike Lister BSc hons Ecology & Env management
GemmaJF
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Posted: 25 Sep 2004

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.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
evilmike
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Joined: 15 May 2004
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Posted: 25 Sep 2004

one word i think 'crikey' what a specimen

:)

 


Mike Lister BSc hons Ecology & Env management
Robert V
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Joined: 06 Aug 2004
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Posted: 26 Sep 2004

 

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


RobV
Robert V
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Posted: 26 Sep 2004

 

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


RobV
herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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Posted: 10 Oct 2004

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?

 


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
rickanstis
Member
Joined: 04 Aug 2003
No. of posts: 3


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Posted: 14 Oct 2004

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 


with best wishes
Rick Anstis
Secretary, Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group
7 Arundel Road DORKING RH4 3HY
Robert V
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Joined: 06 Aug 2004
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Posted: 16 Oct 2004

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 


RobV
Skywalker
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
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Posted: 04 Nov 2004
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.
Simon (KRAG)
Skywalker
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Posted: 04 Nov 2004
I meant 1980's of course!
Simon (KRAG)
calumma
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Posted: 04 Nov 2004
It may be the bottom of KRAG's list, but it's never too late to send me a record...!
Lee Brady
Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant

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Robert V
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Posted: 05 Nov 2004

 

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


RobV
GemmaJF
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Joined: 25 Jan 2003
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Posted: 05 Nov 2004

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
 

Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Robert V
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Joined: 06 Aug 2004
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Posted: 07 Nov 2004

 

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


RobV
Davew
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Joined: 12 Jan 2004
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Posted: 17 Nov 2004

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!!


Robert V
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Joined: 06 Aug 2004
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Posted: 17 Nov 2004
Dave, thanks for the photo. It certainly is a very large snake but identification is difficult, wouldn't you agree? R
RobV
Davew
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Posted: 17 Nov 2004

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.

Davew38308.9870486111

- Natrix - the longest!

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