How do you kill garden snakes

These snakes are native to Germany - poisonous or not?

There are also snakes in Germany: seven different species meander across the Federal Republic. We reveal which specimens are poisonous and how you can distinguish the animals.

Snakes usually stay hidden and, unlike birds, dogs or cats, have a real image problem: According to the biblical story, it was a snake that seduced Eve in Paradise to eat the forbidden fruit - and anyone who speaks with a forked tongue is cheating. Native species now have a major problem: According to experts, their population is declining.

Adder: poisonous but shy

Adder: It is one of the most poisonous snakes in Germany. (Source: JMrocek / Getty Images)

You can recognize the adder (Vipera berus) by their typical dark zigzag band on the back, which is mostly silver-gray in males and brownish in females, with less contrast to the basic color. However, there are also black copies. The snake belonging to the vipers is usually around 70 centimeters long.

Adder: what to do after a bite?

As a poisonous snake, it was hated and feared for a long time and was massively fought until the 1960s. Even if the adder is poisonous - the danger of being bitten by the snake is not really great, because it is shy and only bites when it feels threatened. You should therefore not irritate or touch them.

If you are bitten, there is usually a painful swelling. The adder squirts poison from two teeth, to which people can react allergically - with vomiting, shortness of breath, drop in blood pressure, heart problems or paralysis. The bite is not fatal for most adults - but it can be life-threatening for children, old and sick people.

After a bite, don't panic or try to suck the poison out of the wound. On the other hand, it is helpful to keep the affected part of the body still. Also see a doctor or hospital straight away.

Habitat & Food

The adder prefers, among other things, light forests, the edges of moors, floodplains and mountainous landscapes above the tree line. But she can also feel good on dams or in quarries. Within these regions she likes to look for warmer spots, for example bright clearings or heaths. Except for Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, the adder is widespread throughout Germany. Nevertheless, it is on the red list as a critically endangered species.

The food of the adder mainly includes mice and reptiles such as lizards, frogs and young birds. The snake kills the animals with a poison bite and then swallows them whole.

Aspi viper: Poisonous, native to a German region

Aspi viper: It is the second venomous snake species found in Germany. (Source: imagebroker / imago images)

The aspis viper (Vipera aspis) is up to 90 centimeters long and has a triangular head and a characteristic snout. The color of the snakes ranges from light gray to brown to rusty red, each with a dark wavy band. There are also black specimens. The males are usually more contrasting in color than the females.

Aspis viper: what to do after a bite

As with the adder, its venom is not fatal to most healthy people, but it can cause allergic reactions such as vomiting, shortness of breath, drop in blood pressure, heart problems or paralysis. There is usually a painful swelling around the bite.

If the aspic viper bites you, it is best to hold the affected part of the body still and do not try to tie it off or suck out the venom. Go to a hospital or a doctor straight away - they can give you an injection of an antiserum if necessary.

In order to avoid being bitten in the first place, you should keep your distance in the presence of an asp viper. Normally the snake flees from humans.

Habitat & Food

The aspic viper is far less common than the adder. The poisonous snake only occurs in the southern Black Forest. She is also diurnal and feels most comfortable in dry, warm and rocky surroundings. The aspis viper's menu includes small rodents, lizards and young birds.

Cube snake: rarest snake species in Germany

Dice Snake: It was named "Reptile of the Year 2009". (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)

The dice snake (Natrix tessellata) owes its name to the typical pattern on its back: The basic color is gray to brown, the scales are adorned with spots that look like small cubes. The water snake is between 70 and 90 centimeters long, with the females being much larger than the males. Their life expectancy is up to ten years, from a length of about 50 centimeters they are sexually mature.

Unlike land snakes, the eyes and nostrils of the dice snake point upwards - this makes it easier for it to glide through water. The nimble water snake likes to sunbathe on branches that protrude from the water and can stay under water for several hours in case of danger. When grasped, it gives off a foul-smelling secretion. The water snake is not poisonous.

Habitat & Food

The dice snake is one of the rarest snake species in Germany and is threatened with extinction. Only in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony can the reptile be observed on some rivers, lakes and oxbow lakes with shallow water zones.

The dice snake prefers fish such as carp, barbel and perch as food. But frogs and tadpoles also occasionally end up on their menu.

Aesculapian snake: Germany's largest snake species

Aesculapian snake: It can be as long as an adult is tall. (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)

The Aesculapian snake (Elaphe longissima) is brown, olive-green, gray-brown or gray-black. The head and neck area is usually lighter than the rest of the body, the stomach area is often pale yellow to lemon yellow in color. The male strangler snakes can be up to 1.80 meters long, the females do not quite reach this size. This makes the Aesculapian snake the largest species of snake living in Germany.

But nobody has to be afraid of the snake. Aesculapian snakes are not dangerous to humans. They have no poison, and a bite from those small, pointed teeth hurts a person like a small pinprick.

The snake is also known because it is the symbol of doctors and pharmacists for the art of healing. The bowl wrapped in a snake can still be seen on many pharmacy signs today. The fact that this type of snake is ascribed special healing powers goes back to Greek mythology. The adder is named after Asklepios, the god of healing. Among other things, he is said to have saved Rome from the plague disguised as a snake. Many ancient depictions depict the god with a snake staff.

Habitat & Food

Today the Aesculapian snake itself has to hope for rescue because its habitat is being restricted more and more by humans. The endangered Aesculapian snake can only be found in Germany in the Rheingau, in the southern Odenwald and occasionally on the Danube.

The snakes prefer birds, lizards or small rodents such as voles, which they strangle or crush. Every now and then they grab a bird's egg, because they are also quite good at climbing trees.

Smooth snake: The smallest snake species in Germany

Smooth Snake: It was named "Reptile of the Year 2013". (Source: imagebroker / imago images)

The smooth snake or smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) is only 60 to 70 centimeters long, making it one of the smallest snake species native to Germany. In terms of color, the smooth snake has optimally adapted to its habitat: its shed dress usually varies between brown or gray-brown, which means that it is perfectly camouflaged in nature. The back of the head as well as the neck and back have a darker pattern.

At first glance, the non-poisonous snake can easily be confused with the poisonous adder. This similarity is often the undoing of the harmless smooth snakes because they are driven away or illegally killed. Compared to the adder, the smooth snake has round pupils and its scales are smooth and not keeled.

Habitat & Food

The smooth snake lives hidden and is rarely seen in nature. She values ​​dry and warm habitats, such as light deciduous forests with scree slopes, dry lawns, heaths and moors.

While young smooth snakes feed mainly on insects, adult specimens prefer larger prey. Reptiles such as lizards, blindworms and young snakes serve as food for the adult animals. But smooth snakes also eat mice, birds and amphibians. Since the snake species, according to its name, embraces larger animals and suffocates them, it is often referred to as the "little boa".

Grass snake: Most common snake species in Germany

Grass snake: It is non-toxic and completely harmless. (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)

The grass snake (Natrix natrix) can be up to 1.40 meters long. Identifying them is quite simple: two bright or yellow spots - in the form of crescent moons - on the back of the head are a clear indication. The basic color of the snake is different: sometimes green, sometimes light gray, sometimes almost black.

It has no fangs and is completely harmless to humans. Nevertheless, it is better not to touch a grass snake, as it can excrete a foul-smelling anal secretion as a defense.

Habitat & Food

The grass snake is one of the most widespread snakes in Germany and occurs throughout the Federal Republic of Germany. It prefers to live in wetlands such as slowly flowing waters, lakes, ponds, swamps, wet meadows or moors and their surroundings.

Prey animals such as frogs and fish, more rarely lizards, mice and other small animals serve as food.

Barren grass snake: a new species of snake in Germany

Barring grass snake: In Germany it lives mainly west of the Rhine. (Source: kerala1021 / Getty Images)

As its name suggests, the barn grass snake differs from the grass snake by bar-like black stripes. It is usually 1.50 meters long. The snake with the striking black bar pattern is non-toxic.

Scientists had previously assumed that there were six species of snake in Germany. This was added in 2017: on the basis of genetic studies of more than 1,600 snakes, an international team of researchers has proven that the barn grass snake, which lives in West Germany, among other places, is a species of its own. So far it was considered a subspecies of the grass snake.