RAUK - Archived Forum - Unwanted Grass Snakes

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Unwanted Grass Snakes:

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HarryWorth
Member
Joined: 01 Jun 2003
No. of posts: 1


View other posts by HarryWorth
Posted: 01 Jun 2003
My garden in West Oxon is literally infested with grass snakes. They are all very small and have probably just hatched out but they are creating havoc with my frog and newts residents. I let a few know that I'm not happy with them being around but they don't seem to get the message, I haven't hurt any of them in case you misunderstand. I'm afraid I'm one of those people that get nervous even looking at the little critters, any ideas how I can encourage them to relocate before the frogs and newts are exterminated?
GemmaJF
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090


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Posted: 01 Jun 2003

Hi Harry,

Firstly I've moved the post and re-titled it as the thread you used is for field observations.

My own view is that your grass snake population is testimony to the success of your garden at providing habitat for wildlife. It is simply nature that grass snakes will be found where frogs and newts are abundant and the way it has always been. The grass snakes are very unlikely to have any significant effect on the numbers of amphibians in your garden, domestic cats are far more of a threat.

The steps that would discourage grass snakes will also be detrimental to the amphibians, such as removing available cover.

 


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Wolfgang Wuster
Senior Member
Joined: 23 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 326


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Posted: 02 Jun 2003
First, I second everyhting Gemma has written.

A few additions: the hatchlings you are seeing are much too small to eat adult frogs or newts - they will only go for tadpoles or very recently metamorphosed frogs. These suffer extremely high mortality over the winter in any case - the excess predation from the sankes will make little difference.

All amphibians have a breeding system geared towards the production of vast numbers of juveniles of which very few will survive into adulthood. Consider that, in order for a population to maintain itself, all that has to happen is for every female to produce, OVER HER LIFETIME, on average two juveniles that survive to reproduce themselves. Then think of the number of eggs laid by the average frog. There is a *huge* excess which will not survive, and whose survival is not required to ensure the continuation of the population. The baby grass snakes will make no difference.

Additionally, the juvenile grass snakes will disperse soon anyway - there is a high concentration after they hatch, or after the babies emerge from hibernation, but soon, you won't see many of them. So rest assured that they will not exterminate your amphibian populations.

Cheers,

Wolfgang
Wolfgang Wüster
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor
http://sbsweb.bangor.ac.uk/~bss166/
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


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Posted: 02 Jun 2003

Just a thought... isn't it rather early for natrix eggs to be hatching?

 

Cheers,

Alan


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GemmaJF
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090


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Posted: 02 Jun 2003

They usually lay the eggs in June or July hatching taking 6 - 10 weeks depending on the temperature.

Harry, when you say very small, can you estimate the length for us?


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


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Posted: 02 Jun 2003

Yeah, That's what I thought. Maybe Harry has some of last years still hanging around.

Alan


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Tony Phelps
Forum Specialist
Joined: 09 Mar 2003
No. of posts: 575


View other posts by Tony Phelps
Posted: 02 Jun 2003

Yes, these are no doubt last years neos - do you have a compost heap Harry, can't remember. Grass snake neos almost always spend their first hibernation in or near place of birth. What you are stating is a bit like sparrowhawks in the garden syndrome. Like frogs blue tits etc have large broods and spars and grass snakes are just part of nature's scheme of things. Enjoy.

 

Tony


GemmaJF
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090


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Posted: 07 Sep 2003

Ineedhelp,

I moved your post to a new thread "Feeding Juvenile Grass snakes" where it will get more views.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
ladychatterbox
Member
Joined: 20 Jul 2004
No. of posts: 7


View other posts by ladychatterbox
Posted: 21 Jul 2004
can you please let me know if the snakes have gone - I have only one in my garden at the moment and I am scared stiff of it - please give me some good news
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 21 Jul 2004
Hiya Lady chatterbox :¼)

I do understand your phobia , and I think it's great that you are trying so hard to overcome your fear and understand these wonderfull creatures .But, If this snake really is causing you alot of distress you could send me a PM saying in what area you live . If i'm fairly local I will come and move it for you

All the best,
Alan
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- Unwanted Grass Snakes

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