New grass snake discovered in the UK – BBC News

Image copyright Wolfgang Bohme/Senckenberg Research Institute
Picture caption The Natrix helvetica was originally thought to be a subspecies of the grass snake

A new kind of snake has been discovered in the UK, using the total number of species to 4.

Scientists say the particular barred grass snake, Natrix helvetica , is actually a various species to the common or far eastern grass snake, Natrix natrix .

Prior to, it was thought the grass snake was one species with a number of subspecies that looked slightly various.

The others native towards the UK are the smooth snake as well as the adder, which is venomous.

Grass snakes are a protected types under the Wildlife and Countryside Function so it is a criminal offence in order to injure or kill them.

Both types of grass snake are normally found in lowland regions within the south of England. The snakes can be more than a metre (3ft) lengthy, are found near water and consume mainly amphibians like frogs plus newts.

The recently distinguished barred grass snake is usually grey, not olive green such as the N. natrix and does not have the same brilliant yellow collar.

The particular snake is also found in Switzerland, Italia and France and also has been observed in western Germany.

Picture copyright Melita Vamberger/Senckenberg Research Company
Image caption The species has been distinguished in the common or eastern grass snake

Together its entire length the N. helvetica has black stripes, which to the common grass snake are hardly noticeable.

The Senckenberg Research Institute in Germany directed the study into the genetics of more than one, 600 grass snakes.

Professor Uwe Fritz said: “We discovered that the barred grass snake, previously considered a subspecies, is actually a distinct species.

“We now have to pay close attention to which usually species of grass snake is associated with each case, in order to be able to evaluate whether one of them may be more endangered than previously thought. ”