Smooth Snake

Coronella austriaca

  1. Wildlife
  2. Reptiles
  3. Smooth Snake


This rare snake can only be found in a few places, often alongside other rare reptiles like the sand lizard because they both favour the same kind of sandy heathland habitat. As with other reptiles, Smooth Snakes are cold-blooded so bask in the sun during the day and hibernate from October to April when they would struggle to warm up enough to be active.

How to identify

Similar in appearance to the Adder, the Smooth Snake can be distinguished by its more slender body, round pupil and less well-formed dark pattern on its back. It is usually grey or dark brown in colour.

Where to find it

Very rare, confined to sandy heaths in Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey and a reintroduced populations in West Sussex and Devon


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

Smooth Snakes are extremely rare in Britain; they are restricted to sandy and dry heaths - a habitat suffering serious decline and under threat from human activity. Careful habitat management carried out by The Wildlife Trusts on local nature reserves where this creature lives helps it to survive; clearing scrub to allow heaths to flourish is vital if we are to protect our Smooth Snakes. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help with this work and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Smooth Snake
Latin name
Coronella austriaca
Length: 50-60cm Weight: 90-150g Average Lifespan: up to 30 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.