Photo: Arne Ader
Grass snake swimming in the sea
Depending on the year but most often in July the female grass snake lays six up to twenty-five eggs with a leathery parchment-like thin shell in a moist and warm place. A suitable temperature for development should be 25-30° degrees which our summers generally allow. Manure, compost or refuse heaps, heaps of decaying leaves, thick moss layers, old rotting tree stumps, seaweed banks on the seashore ... are used as incubators. There is little of the seaweed this year, the high water level has washed the seaweed banks from the shore back to the sea .
Several female grass snakes can lay their eggs in the same location. The young grass snakes mostly hatch in August, are a little longer than fifteen centimetres and at once crawl apart to start their independent snake lives. In September they fatten themselves to be ready for wintering – they test anything that they come across but earthworms are a sure thing ... The snake children have many enemies: they are hunted by cranes and birds of prey, raccoon dogs, foxes, polecats, wild boars and even hedgehogs. They settle down for wintering as night frosts arrive.