See video of snake spotted at holiday hotspot which was thought to be 'extinct' in Northumberland
A large snake spotted at a holiday hotspot had been considered ‘extinct’ in Northumberland.
Beadnell resident Katie Archer came across the reptile as she took her dog for a walk through a caravan site on Monday.
It was identified by experts as being a grass snake, the UK’s longest native snake.
However, it is the first reported sighting for many years in Northumberland, says a reptile group volunteer.
Craig Strawbridge, who volunteers with the North East Reptile and Amphibian Group, said: “They were believed to be extinct in Northumberland. The last confirmed sighting anywhere near was at Gibside in the early 2000s so we’re getting close to 20 years ago.
“We’re very excited to hear about this sighting and keen to find out more about it. It could be a small isolated population that we have not discovered or it could have come into the country on the bottom of a caravan or something. Either way, such a sighting is incredibly important and we’d very much like to hear if anyone else sees one.”
Katie admitted: “I thought this was all very unusual. I’ve been in Beadnell for 40 years and never seen one before and neither has my husband!”
The snake – which is completely harmless – is protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and listed as a priority species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.
It is particularly fond of wetland habitats, but can also be found in dry grasslands and in gardens, especially those with a pond nearby.
The grass snake is usually greenish in colour, with a yellow and black collar, pale belly, and dark markings down the sides. It can grow up to 1.5m in length.
They hunt amphibians, fish, small mammals and birds. Females lay 10 to 40 eggs in rotting vegetation, such as compost heaps, incubating them until they hatch in early autumn.Zookeeper Maxine Bradley, from the Northumberland Country Zoo, near Felton, said: "This species is protected in the UK and is completely harmless to people so it is best just to let them mosey on through and continue their business.”
If you spot one, email the North East Reptile and Amphibian Group at firstname.lastname@example.org