This afternoon our neighbour rang the doorbell and asked me to help him catch a snake in his garden. Yes, you read that right. He’d seen his cat outside of his window obviously prowling something and then taking a sudden leap because something lunged at him. He managed to put a bucket on top of the snake upside down and now wanted me to help to put it into an upright bucket with a lid. The snake was very aggressive and hissed like mad, but we managed to put it into the second bucket. Here it is:
It didn’t look like a native snake and googling for snake images didn’t help at all. We didn’t want to take it into the forest and release it in case it was non-native, but it was hard to identify. Finally I called a friend who teaches biology and knows a lot about snakes; he even keeps one as a pet. I showed him the photos I took, and he said it was a grass snake (called Ringelnatter in German). They usually have two distinctive yellow spots behind their head, which this snake was missing, but my expert explained that these spots faded with age.
Compare the head with this photo.
He said our specimen was an older one and quite a big one to boot. He recommended releasing it at the edge of the forst, preferably somewhere where it can catch some sun tomorrow. Of course we obliged. The snake pretended to be dead for a little bit, but quickly recovered and slid away into the darkness…