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Nocturnal encounter

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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 Jul 2014 at 5:50pm
Hi folks

Not sure if this observation is anything particularly unusual or not but i thought i'd post and find out since it's a first for me at least.

Winding my way through the darkness of a serpentine country valley 'B' road last night around 10.15, i spotted a familiar shape in the headlights and broke the comfortable silence in the car with a sudden, excited shout: "There's a snake!". Before my partner could react, i pulled over, fled the car leaving the door hanging open, grabbed a torch from the boot and ran. All the while anxious that i needed to reach the animal before the next wheeled wildlife culler swung around the bend. Scanning the tarmac i soon found a Grass Snake alive and well but struggling just a little to gain purchase across the road. I took the snake back to my car to examine it - much to the delight of my snake-happy girlfriend! Mind you, she was more stoically accepting than delighted when it did it's thing all over her hands and the seats.
Thankfully, the animal - a male - was uninjured. So i released it to safety before we headed off dreaming of air freshener and kitchen roll!

I've not encountered a Grassie active after dark before. Does this occur much? I'm guessing the very warm conditions during the day allowed it to stay active for a little longer? Maybe it was a case of 'misadventure', the snake getting caught short of its refugium for some reason?

Any thoughts/comments RobV/anyone?

cheers
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2014 at 7:42pm
I've seen both grass snakes and adders active after dark.

An unexpected night time encounter like this must have been pretty exciting though and it's great to hear about!

On the hottest days I think there is a distinct shift to late evening and early morning hunting sessions. I guess that  late hunting sessions could be followed by night time movements back to a favoured refuge.
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Robert V View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2014 at 10:59pm
Hi Ben,
 
these bright nights are like dawn on darker spring nights and Grassies are always up at dawn if warm enough.
 
My brothers chickens won't go down of a night and the cows in the back field ate bushes and grass all night last night while my window was open, chomp, chomp chomp!!!
 
I think if we can see without a torch then so can they, again, if its warm enough, why not.
 
Rob
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Robert V View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2014 at 11:06pm
here they are!
 
 
RobV
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AGILIS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2014 at 7:22am
Well spotted Liz well worth a torch light search these hot evenings Keith
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
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liamrussell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote liamrussell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2014 at 9:40am
I've seen grass snakes in ponds at night a couple of time when doing newt surveys
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Chris Monk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chris Monk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2014 at 11:20pm
Like Liam I have come across an active grass snake hunting amphibians at night whilst doing a torchlight survey near Doncaster for Pond Conservation. We were surveying great crested newts by torchlight on a warm night in early May along the margin of a large pond (~0.25 hectares) in a wood. Finding newts at regular intervals we then came upon a stretch of bank where the newts were absent before finding a grass snake near the bank. It swam away from us into the middle of the pond but we all kept track of it in the torchlight and despite being illuminated it then swam back towards us. After resuming the survey there was another blank stretch before the crested newts re-appeared. I am convinced they knew the snake was there and had moved away from that section of the pond.
Chris

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www.derbyshirearg.co.uk

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Caleb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caleb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jul 2014 at 11:28am
There was some discussion of this on the old forum:


As mentioned there, I've seen a grass snake once while torching for newts.
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jul 2014 at 2:03pm
I've also come across grass snakes swimming at night hunting newts - one pond in Epping Forest comes to mind as there were lots of GCN and several grass snakes swimming amongst the weed.  There was also an article in an old BHS Bulletin about adders which were nocturnally active in the Durlston area near Swanage, I think, during unusually hot weather.
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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 2014 at 1:58pm
Thanks for all the replies and anecdotes everyone. Like Gemma, i love reading them too!


Originally posted by Robert V Robert V wrote:

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Hi Ben, I think if we can see without a torch then so can they, again, if its warm enough, why not.
 
Rob


I'm guessing that Grassie night vision is a little better than our own then Rob? Only it was pretty dark - and in a shady valley. The snake looked like it had emerged from woodland and i would never have located it without my torch.
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