The grass snake (Natrix natrix) is a semiaquatic predator, spending much of its time in damp places or in still water. A good swimmer, it can sometimes be spotted rippling its way across the surface of ponds, in search of frogs and fishes. It is one of the most widespread snakes in Europe. Adults are olive-brown, greenish, or gray, usually with a contrasting yellow or white collar just behind the head. In places where summers are cool, females often lay their eggs in compost heaps, the warmth of decaying vegetation helping incubation.
The grass snake ejects a foul-smelling fluid if handled, and sometimes reacts to extreme danger by playing dead. To make the performance as convincing as possible, it turns partly upside down with its mouth open and tongue exposed.
Photo © Fabio Pupin