Free Articles  >>  Pets >>  Page 165  >> 

Grass Snake Part 1

Folded into the high moor between dark mats of heather, a shock of bright green moss skirts a ring of boggy pools. In one the water heaves and starts to boil as the banded, olive coils of a grass snake slide into view. Flickering its forked tongue, Snake parts the vegetation with its wedge-shaped head as its bright unblinking eyes strain to detect the slightest movement. Finding no trace of prey, the snake abandons its search, and with sinuous ease winds off back across the water, disappearing into a clump of rushes.

Encounters such as these, with Britain’s largest and most numerous snakes are surprisingly common. Widespread in England and Wales, though rare in Scotland and absent from Ireland, the grass snake prefers moist lowland areas and may often be seen sunning itself on the bank of a stream or swimming sinuously across a shallow pond.

Grass snakes will prey on lizards, nestling birds, mice and voles, but newts, tadpoles and frogs from the bulk of their diet. The grass snake tracks its prey by scent, for despite its unblinking, glassy stare, its eyes are not well developed and only much use for detecting movement. But with each flick of its forked tongue the snake literally tastes the air for traces of its next meal.

Lacking the venom of the adder, or the constricting coils of the smooth snake, the grass snake relies on stealth and a lighting quick strike to catch its prey, Once a frog or newt is in its grasp, the snake dislocates its lower jaw and then slowly inches first the upper and then the lower jaw over its victim until it is swallowed whole, often appearing as a conspicuous bulge in the snake’s elastic and muscular tube like body.

Wherever possible, the snake catches its prey head first. This minimizes the risk of the biter being bitten and makes the prey easier to swallow. Most victims then quickly drown in the snake’s copious saliva, before the digestive juices get to work.

Because the snake squanders none of its energy on keeping warm, a large meal can last it a week. But being cold blooded does have its disadvantages. In order to become active enough to hurt, the grass snake must first raise its body temperature – which it does by sunbathing.

On a midsummer’s morning when the dawn temperature is above the critical 15C, the grass snake will be active soon after sunrise, catching any unwary frog or newt and then sunbathing until the sun becomes too fierce around noon, when it will slither into the shade. But in cooler weather it must spend longer periods basking before it is fit for the chase. This reliance on the sun means that by the end of September it is forced to seek out a sheltered hideaway, such as an old rabbit burrow, where it can hibernate beyond the reach of winter frosts.

When the balmy fingers of spring reach down into the snake’s lair to wake it from its winter’s sleep, the snake emerges slothfully, and for the next week or two will spend every opportunity sunbathing. Once fully revived, the urge to mate drives the males off on the trail of the females which exude a powerful scent. Once a suitable mate is found the two snakes will bask together, sometime for days on end. Eventually the male will become aroused and begin sliding over and around the female. Flicking his tongue over her skin and thrusting his head into her coils he will attempt to make her unwind so that they can lie side by side and mate. After mating, but over the six week mating period from April to May, each snake may have several partners.

In mid-June the female starts looking for somewhere to lay her eggs. A compost heap, where the warmth generated by the rotting vegetation will nurture the sticky white, leathery eggs, older ones up to 40. But because ideal nest sites are few and far between, many females often lay in the same place – leading to a mass hatch and stories of plagues of snakes.

The young snakes are six inches long when they hatch but grow quickly, shedding their skin for the first of many moults when they are two or three weeks old. In their first year they will grow five inches, adding a further four inches in their second. By their year the male grass snakes will be around 20 inches and sexually mature. Females mature in their fourth year when they will be about 26 inches long, Growth then slows, and, once mature, the snake will start thickening rather than lengthening. An average female grows to 30 inches and a male to 26 inches.
About Author Manora :

Please visit my site <a href="" target="_blank"></a> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Article Source:
Article Url:

Article Added on Saturday, November 8, 2008
Other Articles by Manora

Herbal Beverages Takhrai And Krajieb
Takhrai (Lemon Grass, Lapine) Cymbopogon citatus Stapf Family: GRAMINAE Other Names: Takhrai Gang (The Central Part ) Jakrai (Tha Northern Part) Loekroei Hawwartapo (Karen-Mae Hangsorm ) Krai Pilek (The Southern Part) Huakaising (Khmer-Prachin ) Cherdkroei (Khmer-Surin) Usage: As foods Fresh lemon grass is used as flovoring are seasoning Ingredients for sour soups (tom yam ) and salads(yam)as well as juice. Food value The plant consists of sweet vaporized oil, and if extracted, will give...

A shy summer visitor, the corncrake now only nests in the more peaceful meadowlands of the rural north and west – driven from its former range by increasingly mechanized farming. On warm summer evenings at the turn of the century, the monotonous, rasping crek crek of the elusive country folk, so numerous were these birds. Large numbers of shy visitor from Africa would arrive to make their summer home among thick stands of grass and rough vegetation throughout Britain. But during the last 70...

Tea Herbal Tea
Tea Tea, a drink made from herbs, could be divided into two types. First is the tea made from green tea leaves. Second, is the one made from other parts of herbal plants including petals, fruits, bark or roots. To make a cup of tea, we use heating water to bring out certain characters of herbs in a brief period. Thus it helps us avoid an excessive amount of natural chemicals, and at the same time, reserve nice aroma and taste. Western countries are becoming more fond of herbal beverage. As...

Herbal Beverages Sabparod Toei Hom Pandanus
Sabparod (Pineapple) Scientific Name:Ananas comosus Merr. Family:BROMELIACEAE Other names:Sabparod lai (Krungthep ) Lingthong (Petchboon) Kanoonthong, Yanaad Yaannaad (The Centeral Part) Sabparod (Ranong )Makhanaad, Manaad (The Northern Part ) Bornaad (Chiangmai ) Nae (Karen – Mae Hongsorn) Naesaa (Karen - Taak) Maakgaeng (Ngiew – Mae Hongsorn ) Maanya (Khmer) Botanical features: TrunkA kind of plant whose life cycle is not short has a short stalk of about 1-3 feet high. There are no...

Herbal Beverages Buabok
Buabok (Ariatic pennywort) Scientific Name:Centella asiatic (L.) Urb. Family:UMBELLIFERAE Other names:Pakwaen (The Southern Part, Chantabrui, The Eastern Part) Pak nork (The Northern Part) Panahaekhadhao (Karen-Mae Hongsorn) Tiakamchao Hukkuk (Chinese) Botanical features: TrunkA short – life cycle plant easily grows on wet soil. Roots grow on the plant’s joints from which leaves straightly develop. Leaves The leaves of Buabok plant are in a single form with long stems and a kindney...

Herbal Beverages Farang Matoom
Farang (Guava) Scientific Name: PIsidium guajava Linn. Family: MYRTACEAE Other Names:Sida (Nakornprathom) Maguoiga Mamuun (The Northern Part) Maguoi (Chiangmai (Majeen (Tak) Yaring (Lawaa – Chiangmai ) Magaa (Mae Hongsom) Yaa moo, Yamu (The Southern Part )Joompo (Surattanee) Chompuu (Pattanee) Yamubutae – panya (Malay – Naratiwas) Pakgia (Taejiew Chinese) Botanical features: Trunk A small- sized perennial tree with its smooth bark scattered with light brown spots. Young branches are in...

Thai Dishes Central Part And South
The Central Part Tamlyn (a kind of creeping plant of which its green leaves and tops are edible) is the vegetable Queen of the central region. The cool flavor of the Tamlyn’s leaves and creeping stems cooked as food help relieve heat in the summer time. 1. Nam Prig Maakhaan Sod (Fresh Tamarind Chilli Paste ) Vegetables to be taken with: Parboied vegetables are Tamlyn, the tops of Maafaak Kaew(a kind of green melon), Maa Kwaeng ji, grilled young Paekaa pods (Kinds of pods from the Paekaa...

Herbal Beverages Taan
Taan (Palmyra Palm, Lontar Plam, Pan Palm, Brab Palm) Scientific Name:Borassus flabellifer Linn. Family :PALMAE Other Names:Tanntanoad, Taanyai (The Central Part) Taang (Chiangmai-Karen-Taak) Toowthoo (Karen-Mae Hongsorn) Taan (Shan-Mae Hongsorn) Noad (The Southern Part ) Tanaaw (Khmer) Botanical features: Trunk A perennial tree is about 30 metres high. The trunk which is long and tapering does not produce any branch. The husk contains hard splinters. Leaves A Taan leaf has a single,...

Herbal Beverages Sawvaros And Manao
Sawvaros (Water- Lemon, Passion Flower) Scientific Name: passiflora Iaurifolia Linn. Family: PASSIFLORACEAE Other Names: Katokrok, Katokrokayak, Passion Fruit Botanical features: Bush A rounded creeper. LeavesA deep green, glossy, single leaf with a deeply curving edge. There is a gland at the leaf s stem. There are plenty of thick leaves. Blossoms A large single flower is in its upside down form like a lantern, with green bract. The outer petal is in a cylinder shape, jagged at the...

Buddhism Thailand Part 3
As in medieval Europe, most early Thai scholars were clerics whose major monastic activity was to teach the unlettered. Behind the quiet facade of monastic life, many village boys learned the rudiments of reading and writing Thai and Pali, simple arithmetic and the Buddhist precepts. Education was primarily concerned with ethical and religious instruction. Because most early Thai literature concerned religion, literacy allowed greater participation in religious life. Although the Department...

Click here to see More Articles by Manora
Publishers / Webmasters
Article ID: 104293
DELINK URL from Authors Bio
REMOVE Article
Tell A Friend
Leave A Comment!
Download this article in PDF
Report Article!
Search through all the articles:

252 Users Online!!
Related Articles:
Latest Articles:
Pets >> Top 50 Articles on Pets
Category - >
Advertising Advice Affiliate Programs Automobiles
Be Your Own Mentor Careers Communication Consumers
CopyWriting Crime Domain Names DoT com Entrepreneur Corner
Ebooks Ecommerce Education Email
Entertainment Environment Family Finance And Business
Food & Drink Gardening Health & Fitness Hobbies
Home Business Home Improvement Humour House Holds
Internet And Computers Kiddos and Teens Legal Matters Mail Order
Management Marketing Marriage MetaPhysical
Motivational MultiMedia Multi Level Marketing NewsLetters
Pets Psychology Religion Parenting
Politics Sales Science Search Engine Optimization
Site Promotion Sports Technology Travel
Web Development Web Hosting WeightLoss Women's Corner
Writing Miscellaneous Articles Real Estate Arts And Crafts

Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the views of and/or its owners.

Copyright © AwareINDIA. All rights reserved || Privacy Policy || Terms Of Use || Author Guidelines || Free Articles
FAQs Link To Us || Submit An Article || Free Downloads|| Contact Us || Site Map  || Advertise with Us ||
Click here for Special webhosting packages for visitors of this website only!
Vastu Shastra

Virtual Linux Server Hosting Provided By AwareIndia

Company IDS