Snake in the garden - what kind can it be?

Snake in the garden - what kind can it be?

Recognize frequent snakes - an overview of the identification features

If there is an encounter between humans and snakes in the garden, it is mostly the grass snake. Four other types of snakes are native to Germany, two of which are poisonous snakes. The following overview introduces you to outstanding recognition features:

  • Grass snake: non-poisonous, 75-150 cm long, greenish or brownish. Natrix natrix has 2 yellow crescent spots on the neck, but not its own species Natrix helvetica (barn grass snake)
  • Dice snake: non-poisonous, 75-110 cm long, gray-brown to ocher-colored with dice markings on the back
  • Smooth snake: not poisonous, 60-80 cm long, gray-brown in color, dark band between mouth and eye
  • Adder: poisonous, 60-80 cm long, gray, brown, black, yellow or green, zigzag pattern on the back
  • Aesculapian snake: non-toxic, 100-200 cm long, yellow-brown to gray-black, white speckled pattern on the back

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The native slow worm is neither blind nor a snake. In fact, it is a species of lizard whose legs have completely regressed in the course of evolution. The shy animal is not poisonous, 30 to 40 cm long, gray, gray-brown or brown in color. Since the slow worm has snails and other pests on its menu, it can be counted as beneficial insects without hesitation.

Adder bites are not fatal

The adder is poisonous, but by no means aggressive. Rather, she always seeks her salvation in flight. Only when the snake is cornered or touched does it fight back and bite. While this is painful, it is usually not life threatening. Under certain circumstances, it could be dangerous for small children and the elderly, as well as in shock reactions (e.g. allergic shock). You should nevertheless consult a doctor immediately, as a resulting infection in combination with the poison can be hazardous to health.

Snakes are protected - so behave properly

All domestic snakes are threatened with extinction and are therefore subject to species protection. It is forbidden to disturb, hunt or even kill the animals. When you meet, keep calm and give the snake an escape route that it is guaranteed to use. Even a firm step on the ground triggers the flight instinct.

If you cannot make friends with a snake in the garden at all, please contact the public order office and not the fire brigade. Experts can be named here who will professionally relocate an unwanted snake.


Aren't you keen on grass snakes or dice snakes in your garden? Then just create a heather garden. The two semi-aquatic snakes do not like the dry, sandy conditions. Only when you integrate a garden pond into the design plan, the native snake species could still appear.