The grass snake and the common European adder

Yellow spots or zigzag pattern?

Grass snake, photo Jussi Helimäki

The grass snake (Natrix natrix) can usually be seen slithering in shore areas, but it can also be encountered in the middle of forests. It has distinct yellow-gold spots on its neck.

The grass snake preys on frogs, tadpoles and fish. It also hunts in the water. The grass snake lays its eggs in rotting clusters of kelp, which produce heat as they decompose.

The common European adder (Vipera berus) preys on small rodents, bird chicks and viviparous lizards. It is rarer in Helsinki than the grass snake.

The common European adder seeks out sun-drenched rocks to incubate its eggs on. The eggs are actually incubated inside the snake, after which it gives birth to live young. The viviparous lizard, which reproduces in a similar manner, and the common European adder live farther north than any other lizards in the world. When observing snakes, you should always keep a few metres of distance between you and the snake.


The grass snake, photo Jussi Helimäki.


Kyy, kuva Jussi Helimäki.

The common European adder, photo Jussi Helimäki.