Snake spotted slithering through park in Penwortham

A snake has been spotted slithering around a nature reserve in Penwortham at the weekend.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 2:56 pm
Updated Monday, 17th May 2021, 6:28 pm
The grass snake, native to England, was spotted at a nature reserve in Penwortham on Saturday (May 15). Picture by James and Helen Tomlinson

The grass snake (pictured) startled James and Helen Tomlinson who stumbled across it whilst out walking with their daughter Emily on Saturday afternoon (May 15).

The couple say the black snake, which was basking in the sun near a pond, was "easily a metre" in length (more than 3ft) and had a pale yellow 'ring' near its head.

James and Helen kindly shared their picture with the Post, but have asked that we do not reveal exactly where the snake was found, to help protect it and its habitat.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Helen explained: "The issue we have with sharing the exact location is that it’s an area that is full of nature and the area was abused and trashed last year when word got out, which is not good for the wildlife."

James added: "It was the first time I've spotted a snake. I’ve lived in Penwortham most of my life and the amount of wildlife here now is amazing. This snake was easily a metre long."

What type of snake is it?

Though unconfirmed, it is believed to be a grass snake, Natrix helvetica, which is non-venomous and one of only three snakes native to the UK.

The other two species are the smooth snake and the adder, which is venomous.

Grass snakes are the largest snakes in Britain and can be more than a metre (3ft) long. They are often found near wetlands where they eat mainly amphibians like frogs and newts.

Did you know?

Grass snakes are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act making it illegal to injure or kill them.

In 2017, the grass snakes found in Britain and western Europe were reclassified as 'barred grass snakes' (Natrix helvetica), and are now regarded as a separate species from those in central and eastern Europe (Natrix natrix).

They have an average lifespan of around 15-25 years and are most visible between April and October.

Thanks for reading. If you value the work our journalists do, trying to keep you informed of what is happening in your area, then please consider subscribing to our unrivalled online service. Try us today by clicking here