The rarest snake in Norway

Here in Sørlandet (southernmost part of Norway) we have some reptiles and amphibians that are not found further north. One of these is the Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) (Norwegian “slettsnok”). It likes to bask in the sun and prefers rock crevises where it can hide, like man-made stone walls. It is not poisonous and can easily be held in your hands. It is not aggressive, but can bite. The bite rarely penetrates your skin, at least in mid-sized animals. It feels like being touched by the stiff side of Velcro. The snake is athletic. The skin is smooth and nice to handle. It feeds on other reptiles like slowworm, mice and insects. Unfortunately, the snake is often killed by people as they think it is poisonous. All reptiles and amphibians are protected by law in Norway.

The Smooth snake basking in the sun near Kristiansand, Norway.

The Smooth snake in close-up. It has a brown stripe through the eye, and brown spots on the back and sides. The pupil is circular.

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