Islanders are being asked to keep their eyes peeled for one of our rarest reptiles this summer, the harmless grass snake.
The grass snake is Jersey’s only snake and is the focus of a new campaign designed to halt their decline. Called “Think Grass Snake”, it was launched by the Environment Department this week, and aims to raise awareness of the grass snake and to persuade people to report their sightings.
Typically dark green or brown in colour, with a yellow collar behind the head, they are diurnal – which means they’re active during the day – and are most likely to be spotted during the summer.
As they feed mostly on amphibians, they are excellent swimmers and are often seen around ponds and streams. They can also be found in dry woods, hedgerows and meadows and visit gardens and farms.
Members of the public are also being urged to look out for slow-worms and to submit information on their sightings of both native reptiles via the campaign website www.thinkgrasssnake.je or through a dedicated ‘spotline’ on 441628.
The campaign is part of a research project designed to study the status and conservation of grass snakes and slow-worms in Jersey, to determine how many there are in the Island, where they live and what can be done to protect them.
It is being funded by a number of companies, charities and not-for-profit organizations and is led by Rob Ward, who is currently studying for a PhD on Jersey’s grass snakes and slow-worms at The University of Kent.
“If by raising awareness we can help people understand what to look for and then to share their information, this will make a real contribution to the protection of grass snakes,” said Mr Ward.
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