<< Previous Next >>

Cobra-mimicking Grass Snake

Cobra-mimicking Grass Snake
Photo Information
Copyright: Bayram Gocmen (boreocypriensis) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 207 N: 2989] (9571)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-04-29
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Nikon D-80, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, @ ISO 400, SIGMA 62MM EX DG MC UV Filter
Exposure: f/11, 1/500 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Turkish Herpetofauna [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-05-23 23:24
Viewed: 8607
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 62
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Natrix natrix (Grass Snake) [in Turk. Yarı Sucul Yılan, Küpeli Yılan] (Old Female)

Hi friends, today a really funny and harmless beauty:) which I encountered with her near Suğla Lake (Seydişehir, Konya) during one of my trip to Antalya province. It is really funny because she shows some movements resembling that those of cobras:) even at all does not bite. See also attached WS to see a more close shot from different POV. I do not think this behaviour was reported in Literature before!

Hoping that you like these shots too.!

TFL & Cheers,

©Bayram GÖÇMEN, All Rights Reserved.


Grass Snake can grow to a maximum length of more than two meters in rare exceptional specimens. Generally females grow to length of about 100 cm on average, and males may reach close to 70 cm. Experience has shown that specimen longer than 110 cm in total length are always female, i.e. the maximum lengths are exclusive to females. The head is distinct from the neck and covered above with large smooth plates. The eyes are of moderate size and have round pupils. Grass snake shows a great variation in coloration on dorsum based on geographical location, i.e. subspecies. But it has a pair of “lunar spots” that forms the posterior border of the occiput is a characteristic trait of the Grass Snake and present in many forms of this species. Their colour can range from yellow, through white and gray, to reddish orange. These spots are often bordered anteriorly by another pair of black spots (occipital spots) an posteriorly by a pair of the same color (nuchal spots). In contrast to the lunar spots that are rarely fused, both the occipital and nuchal pairs are commonly connected. The ground coloration of the keeled body scales may be ash-gray, slate-gray, grayish green, grayish blue, or grayish brown. Partly or entirely black (melanistic) specimens are common, especially at higher elevations. The pattern is generally variable and often indicative of the subspecies. The ventral side is often marked with a black to dark blue tessellated pattern over a dirty white background.

The pattern of the side of the head often consists of narrow, black, vertical bars on the usually light coloured supralabials. Some scallation characteristics (called as Pholidosis) as follows: 19 dorsal scale rows around midbody; usually one large preocular plate; three or four postoculars; usually seven, occasionally five, six or eight supralabials; 147-193 ventrals; 45-90 pairs of subcaudals, anal plate divided.

In spite of a presence of venom glands, this snake is entirely harmless as it lacks teeth that could convey venom. Rather, the venom is released in the back of the throat where it mixes with the saliva and swallowed to aid with the digestion of prey. It found in both humid and dry areas with abundant vegetation. It is most often associated with water bodies, but can be encountered in woodland, meadows, hedgerows, coastal areas, and some suburban areas (especially rural gardens). When handled does not bite, but secretes an aerosol bad-smelling liquid from its anal glands. It is also can play dead, lying on back (sometimes) with the slack mouth slightly open [Click HERE TO SEE THIS BEHAVIOR which it photographed by me]. As soon as it feels safe once more, it suddenly returns to life and try to escape. It feeds on frog on toads, small fish and rodents. A female lays 6-13 eggs, sometimes a lot of eggs laid in the same nest by more than a few females.

Its range extends from Europe including Cyprus, NW Africa towards to Middle Asia with a vertical distribution to 2400 m. Known from every region of Turkey, representing a single subspecies, N. n. persa (The Stripped Grass Snake). It has typically two white or pale yellow stripes that run down the back. The pair of lunar spots, if at all present, is often widely separated, as is the pair of nuchal spots.

1. Göçmen, B. (Unpub. results). The results of herpetological trips.
2. Göçmen, B., Atatür, M. K., Budak, A., Bahar, H., Yildiz, M. Z., Alpagut-Keskin, N. (2009). Taxonomic notes on the snakes of Northern Cyprus, with observations on their morphologies and ecologies. Animal Biology, 59 (1): 1-30.
3. Budak, A. & Göçmen, B. (2005). Herpetology. Ege Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi, No. 194, Ege Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 226 pp. [2nd Edition, 2008].
4. Atatür, M. K & Göçmen, B. (2001). Amphibians and Reptiles of Northern Cyprus (1st Edition), Ege Üniversitesi, Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi, No. 170, Ege Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 63 pp.
5. Baran, I. & Atatür, M. K. (1998). Turkish Herpetofauna (Amphibians & Reptiles). Ministry of Environment, Ankara. 214 pp.
Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 226 pp. [2nd Edition, 2008].
6. Göçmen, B., Tok, C. V., Kaya, U. & Tosunoglu, M. (1996).A Preliminary Report On the Herpetofauna of Northern Cyprus. Turk. J. Zoology, 20 (suppl.): 161-176.
7. Kreiner, G. (2007). The Snakes of Europe.Edition Chinaira, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 317 pp.

bahadir, Miss_Piggy, mwmod99, CatherineD, montivipera, nagraj, anemone, yolandefernoux, fyapici, cypturk, CeltickRanger, rockisland, anel, yasemin, haraprasan has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To bedri: :))boreocypriensis 1 05-25 12:19
To yasemin: :))) cesur yürek? :)boreocypriensis 1 05-24 14:20
To cirano: slmboreocypriensis 6 05-24 11:47
To Miss_Piggy: Hi Annaboreocypriensis 1 05-24 01:32
To horias: hahah:))boreocypriensis 1 05-24 00:22
To bahadir: :) sağolboreocypriensis 1 05-24 00:03
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Merhaba sevgili arkadaşim,
Congratulations for this first observation and for this two fantastic and funny shots. Really impressive beauty. I'm sure this behavior would work. For sure, I would be afraid to meet her on my way... Have a nice and sunny day,

Wawww.. hocam muhteşem dinamik ve kusursuz bir kare. Sanki üzerimize doğru gelir gibi dipdiri. Türün davranış biyolojisi açısından da bence çok ama çok önemli bir ilk gözlem. WS deki ölü taklidi ve yan bakış da süper olmuş Bayram hocam. Tan favorilik! Emeğinize sağlık. Saygılarımla,

what a posture! tfs.

Hi MF Bayram
I think is the father of my little snake!
What a great shot!
You have right, is like a cobra!

Hallo Bayram
I do not care what you tell me on how harmless this snake is, it looks vicious, especially with its forepart of the body and head lifted up just as if want to strike at any moment. But I do believe you when you say it is not dangerous and do not bite. The details captured and seen on the skin is really striking. The texture is beautiful and the markings really beautiful. I like the natural sunlight in the image as it brings out the pretty colours of the snake to its best, especially the silver seen on some parts. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.
Ps. Are you ever afraid when you encounter snakes that you are not sure if they are dangerous or poisonous?
Ps. 2 – Please send my regards to Deniz, Mehmet and Bahadir, and how long for lastly mentioned before he is finished with his military training?

İlginç bir yılan iyi bir çekim.Karın renkleri çok hoş.Tebrik ederim.

I miss you precious work dear friend Bayram yesterday, but today what powerful comeback again with well presented colorful notes and another gorgeous snake! Bravo Bayram! The well deserved break and the tasty Kit-Kat you obviously had gave you a great boost that weekend! Great dept of field, due to a very appropriate Aperture settings, good shadow and highlight detail, lovely sharpness and descent composition! well done, MF!
George Veltchev

Bayram hocam süperrrrr.. hemde en alasından. Dalgacı arkadaş yine havasında... emeğinize sağlık Sayın hocam.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-05-24 2:49]

Hello Bayram,
Great photo of this Grass Snake in beautiful natural colours and an excellent sharp focus on the head. Good DOF and composition,

Hi Bayram,
When snakes are moving in a elongated possition it is a hassle to get a good composition (because they are so long and thin). Your shot is an example of one of the best compositions I ever saw for a snake in elongated position. Brilliant occupation of the space.
It also comes with crisp clear details and very appropriate DOF.

Funny? Harmless? - O my god - if I would have such a chance encounter I think I would run away in panic ;-) Aaaaaa - heeeelp ....
But than I would have passed a fantastic moment as it seems, wow, amazing. To see the snake in this pose is a special moment and I'm proud of you that you made this wonderful shot.
We only have tiny snakes here in Germany, but you will never see them in nature, they are too shy. So I'm not used to see them and don't know how to react to them, perhaps you understand what I mean.
Thanks, realy a fantastic post my friend,
have a sunny day
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2010-05-24 3:36]

Fine observation and capture of the grass snake, in your own style with good information. tfs.

Bayram hocam muhteşem gözlem ve harika fotoğraflar. Hepsi birbirinden güzel. Emeklerinize sağlık.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-05-24 4:18]

What a great timing my friend...and what a brave pic....you risk everyday to capture pics like that...and this is beautifull,i like a lot this long perspective whit the perfect focus on the head! Thanks for share,have a nice day,Luciano

Bonjour mon ami Bayram,

Ha!ha!Spécial moment de vérité!!!
Pique ou pique pas!
C'est génial il déploie son jeu de charme!
Fantastique capture, superbes détails annulaires sous la base de la tête;
est-ce ainsi tout le long de son corps?
Un beau moment pour vous Monsieur le prof.
Merci pour ce partage radieux.
Amitiés et agréable semaine à vous.

Merhaba Bayram.

Yılanlarla karşılaşmayı istemesem de fotoğraflarına bakmak hoşuma gidiyor. Hele böyle 4/4lük alınmış fotoğraf olursa. Biliyorum şimdi bana yılan bişey yapmaz diyeceksin ama bu mercimek çorbasını sevmemek gibi bişey :) Kadrajına yerleştirme, alan derinliğinin etkili kullanımı açısından muhteşem bir çalışma olmuş dostum. Eline emeğine sağlık. Selam ve sevgiler.

Dayi gercekten siradisi bir foto. Tam National Geographic'lik.
Notlardan cok sey ogrendim gene. Hemde guldum. eline saglik.

Hi Bayram,
Great perspective of this grass snake with its body running diagonally across the photo. Very good details considering you had minimal contrast to work with.Photo to be proud of.

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-05-24 9:02]

Hello Bayram
Excellent capture and interesting in the same time
Thanks for sharing

hello Bayram

WOW ! superb timing to shoot this snake on that pose
with your frontal POV, superb focus sharpness and details,
excellent portrait shot for the photo of the WS, TFS


hello Bayram
this is very good
beautiful colours and good details
very good sharpness
i like the WORKSHOP picture very much
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-05-24 10:44]

Hello Bayram,
Even if I'm not a snake-fan, this shot is most interesting and I happy to read that this snake is harmless. I also like the WS picture, where we can perfectly see the offensiv way to behave of the grass-snake.
Merci beaucoup!
Kind regards

Ciao Bayram, wonderful beauty by fantastic frontal POV, splendid sharpness and superb details, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

Buen trabajo Bayram. Habilidad en la captura al plasmar de manera perfecta el primer plano... pero sin olvidar el resto; para ello has conseguido un efectivo encuadre muy bien resuelto.

Enhorabuena por esta gran captura.

J. Ignasi.

Woooooov...Nasil da korkmadan bu kadar yakina gidebiliyorsun hala anlamis degilim...Ozellikle de sana selam vermek icin kalkmis gibi duruyor..Her yonuyle super bir kare...Tebrikler cesur yurek....Sen ne kadar tehlikesiz desen de cesaretli yurek ister yanina yaklasmaya ...
Ellerine ve yuregine saglik..Sevgiler canim kardesim, kendine iyi bak..

Merhaba Bayram
you have captured this Natrix Natrix in a superb pose, great face to face,
beautiful sharpness on his head, he looks a bit angry
fine composition
Have agood night

Ciao BBB. Best compliments for the rare and indeed impressive capture. Great shot so like the WS.


  • Great 
  • bedri Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 111 W: 0 N: 237] (1284)
  • [2010-05-25 12:11]
  • [+]

:) ENFES...
Emeklerine sağlık dostum, çok çok güzel olmuş..
Sevgiler selamlar,

I missed this one before, this is a treasure.
Great expression, good focus on the head and a nice composition showing the whole creature. I suppose you patted the snake on it's head after posing and fed him a frog?

Very well done


Selamlar sayın hocam,
Böylesini ilk defa görüyorum,
Mükemmel bir davranış,
Harika bilgiler,
yakın çekimde çok şirin olmuş.

Selam my dear friend,
A lovely looking natrix natrix that is imitating cobra action. Very well captured shot with sharp details and a very good composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Calibration Check