Barred grass snake

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Barred grass snake
Grass Snake (Natrix natrix helvetica) playing dead (14178349634).jpg
Barred grass snake in southern France, playing dead
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Natrix
N. helvetica
Binomial name
Natrix helvetica
(Lacépède, 1789)

The barred grass snake (Natrix helvetica) is a non-venomous colubrid snake from Western Europe, living in and close to water. It was included within the grass snake species, Natrix natrix, until August 2017, when genetic analysis suggested that it was better treated as a separate species.[1] The recently identified species has distinct banding along its flanks for the entire length of its body and it lacks the bright yellow collar of the similar Natrix natrix. The body colour is grey rather than the olive green of Natrix natrix. The species is found in Great Britain as far north as southern Scotland,[2] Switzerland, Italy, France and western Germany. The snake, which eats amphibians like newts and frogs, can grow to a length of over a metre. [3] For more generalised information on the species, refer to the grass snake, which this species was recently split from.

Five subspecies of Natrix natrix were transferred to Natrix helvetica:[1]

  • N. helvetica helvetica (syn. N. natrix helvetica)
  • N. helvetica cetti (syn. N. natrix cetti)
  • N. helvetica corsa (syn. N. natrix corsa)
  • N. helvetica lanzai (syn. N. natrix lanzai)
  • N. helvetica sicula (syn. N. natrix sicula)


  1. ^ a b Kindler, Carolin; Chèvre, Maxime; Ursenbacher, Sylvain; Böhme, Wolfgang; Hille, Axel; Jablonski, Daniel; Vamberger, Melita & Fritz, Uwe (2017), "Hybridization patterns in two contact zones of grass snakes reveal a new Central European snake species", Scientific Reports, 7 (7378), doi:10.1038/s41598-017-07847-9 open access
  2. ^ "Ssssscotland here we come!". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  3. ^ "New grass snake identified in the UK". BBC News. 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2017-08-09.