Damp snakes

Bill finds a grass snake skin, fairly recently shed. You can see the eyes in the skin and you can see that the eye is not an eyehole, it actually has a transparent skin over it. That’s the thing, snakes don’t have eyelids, they actually have - as it were - a little window and the eye is underneath that. They shed their windows and their lenses, whatever we call them. In fact, this is perfect grass snake territory on the edge of the fen. This is a grass snake palace: a compost heap at the bottom of a nearby garden. It is a giant incubator - it’s really warm inside there, and this is where the grass snake will have laid its eggs. Bill is going to rummage in the compost to see what he can find. This could take a bit of time. Grass snakes are not poisonous, so he's not going to get hurt in any way. Mind you, you never know what else might be there! That is a young grass snake; that is so beautiful. Showing perfectly its other name - it is sometimes called ringed snake, and it has a lovely little ring neck. They like damp grass, they like fenland, the edges of marshes and slow moving streams, because they can swim really, really well. Once they’re out in the watery areas the adults feed almost exclusively on amphibians, particularly frogs. So, maybe they should be called damp snake, but that’s not a nice name. Better than compost heap snake though, isn’t it? Bill is tempted to go on rummaging, but he thinks he should pop the young snake back in case its brother and sister are in there somewhere.

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