The Ladder Snake (Rhinechis scalaris or Zamenis scalaris) is a medium-sized reptile and a colubrid (non-venomous) snake. It is related to the Ratsnake.
The Ladder Snake has yellowish to dark brown scales with two dark brown stripes running down the length of its body from neck to tail. It has a dark stripe at the back of its eye, angling down to its jaw. Its underbelly is pale, such as slivery-grey to whitish. It has a pointed snout (nose). It has dark eyes.
It grows to 100-120 centimetres (39-47 inches) long.
It is native to countries in south-western Europe, particularly in Spain, Portugal, and southern France. It prefers woodlands and scrublands, including vineyards and places with stones and low shade.
The Ladder Snake is carnivorous, eating small mammals, such as mice, rabbits, and shrews. It also eats lizards, birds, spiders, and insects, especially grasshoppers.
It is mainly diurnal, active during the day.
The female Ladder Snake lays 4-15 eggs, which hatch after 35-70 days. She stays with her young, called snakelets, for a few days before they become independent.
The Ladder Snakes lives, on average, for 20 years.
[Location of photographs: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM