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Aesculapian Snake
Zamenis longissimus

Last edited: October 4th 2019

Aesculapian Snake - Zamenis longissimus

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Short description of Zamenis longissimus, Aesculapian Snake

Large, agile snake up to 1.75 m long (mostly shorter). Dark greyish or brownish above and yellowish below. Young animals are marked with spots and often have yellowish markings around the head, so may be confused with young grass snakes.

Impact summary: Zamenis longissimus, Aesculapian Snake

Unknown.

Habitat summary: Zamenis longissimus, Aesculapian Snake

A variety of sheltered but warm, sunny habitats; climbs well and often seen in bushes or trees.

Overview table

Environment Terrestrial
Species status Non-Native
Native range Albania, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Gruziya, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Moldova, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkey, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia
Functional type Predator
Status in England Non-Native
Status in Scotland Non-Native
Status in Wales Non-Native
Location of first record Colwyn Bay (50)
Date of first record 1970

Origin

Central southern Europe (but not most of Iberia) into near Asia.

First Record

1970s (North Wales).

Pathway and Method

The two known populations are associated with zoos, from which it is presumed they originally escaped.

Species Status

Known populations are reproducing successfully but not thought to be spreading far from existing areas, though this needs monitoring.

Dispersal Mechanisms

Not currently thought to be spreading but these large, mobile snakes are certainly capable of travelling a considerable distance from existing sites.

Reproduction

Up to 18 large, grooved eggs laid in piles of decaying vegetation, loose soil or holes (even in trees). Juveniles are already about 20 cm long on hatching.

Known Predators/Herbivores

Unrecorded but avian predators (such as buzzards) will take them.

Resistant Stages

None.

Habitat Occupied in GB

Parkland, shrubby areas, open woods.

Two established populations.

Environmental Impact

Unknown unrecorded.

Health and Scoial Impact

None known.

Economic Impact

None known.

Identification

Inns, H. (2009) Britain’s reptiles and amphibians. Wildguides, Old Basing.

Biology, ecology, spread, vectors

Inns, H. (2009) Britain’s reptiles and amphibians. Wildguides, Old Basing.

Gasc, J.-P. (Ed.) (1997) Atlas of amphibians and reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica and Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

Management and impact

General

Inns, H. (2009) Britain’s reptiles and amphibians. Wildguides, Old Basing.

Gasc, J.-P. (Ed.) (1997) Atlas of amphibians and reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica and Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

Spotted this species?

Find out how to record your sighting.

Map of the UK with areas shaded to show the UK distribution

Distribution map

View the Distribution map for Aesculapian Snake, Zamenis longissimus from NBN Atlas