Smooth snakes are extremely rare in this country and you are unlikely to see one. They live only in a few isolated areas of heathland in Southern England.


Protecting the Smooth Snake

The main reason for the scarceness of smooth snakes is the destruction of their habitat - a problem they share with the sand lizard, with which they share much of their remaining territory. Areas of heathland are being destroyed to make way for the building of houses, and where this is happening, smooth snakes are dying out.  However, they also have plenty of predators, including birds of prey, foxes, badgers, weasels, pheasants and crows. Additional dangers come from areas where housing is near heathland, as the snakes are vulnerable to attacks by domestic cats and people. As a defensive mechanism, they can secrete a foul-smelling substance from their anal glands.  This is designed to put off predators!

Smooth snakes are now fully protected in this country under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and their habitat is protected under European law.  They cannot be killed, injured, traded, disturbed or have their habitats damaged or destroyed by humans.

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