The Aesculapian Snake (Zamenis longissimus) is a non-venomous colubrid snake. It is a reptile.
The Aesculapian Snake is dark-coloured, olive-brown, or light-coloured, with a long slender body. Its scales are smooth with a metallic sheen. Its belly is plain light-yellow or cream. Its eyes are amber or brown.
It measures about 110-200 centimetres (43-78 inches) long.
The Aesculapian Snake is native to European countries, from France and Spain to the Balkans and eastern Europe. It is also found in the Greater Caucasus, including southern Russia, Georgia, and Turkey – near the Black Sea.
It prefers warm forested regions, with hilly or rocky habitats with vegetation. It can often be found in gardens near human activity. It does not like hot arid deserts.
It is diurnal, active during the day. It hibernates in winter. It is a good climber and will climb branches of trees.
The Aesculapian Snake eats rodents, such as rats and mice, as well as small mammals, such as shrews and moles. It also eats lizards, birds and bird eggs. It suffocates its prey by constriction, although very small animals may be eaten alive without constriction.
The female Aesculapian Snake lays 5-11 eggsin a moist, warm spot where there is organic decomposition (leaf litter, rotting wood, or in old tree stumps). The eggs hatch after 6-10 weeks.
The juvenile snakes, called snakelets, are generally light green or brownish-green with darker pattern along their sides and on their back.
The Aesculapian Snake lives for 25-30 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM