Smooth snakes are Britain's answer to the boa constrictor. Though harmless to humans, reptiles and small mammals have much to fear. Smooth snakes kill or subdue their meals by squeezing the life out of them before finally swallowing the unfortunate victim whole. They hibernate communally through the winter and, after emerging, the males fight for females. Rearing up, they push their opponents to the ground and coiling around each other until one gives up. They are incredibly rare in Britain being restricted to southern heathland, but widely distributed throughout Europe.
How to identify UK reptiles.
Scientific name: Coronella austriaca
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The following habitats are found across the Smooth snake distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Coronella austriaca (commonly known as a smooth snake) is a harmless colubrid species found in northern and central Europe, but also as far east as northern Iran. The EMBL currently recognizes three subspecies, including the typical form described here.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.