Backwell is very fortunate to still have some splendid wildlife – but it needs our support. Hedgehogs are easy to love but strangely many people are fearful of snakes. The attached is a picture taken by Mrs J Watts in the Backwell Playing fields and probably because of the strong markings, some people posted on Facebook that it was an adder. Adders are VERY beautiful but small animals that need our protection and are timid and very rarely bite – mostly when they are being attacked. Grass-snakes can be much bigger, like living near water or lower areas (such as Backwell village) and are entirely harmless beautiful creatures. Grass-snakes are the only UK snake to lay eggs (adders give birth to live young) so if you find leathery eggs in a compost-heap they will be grass-snake eggs. All reptiles are protected by law.

Dr John Wilkinson (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Regional Training and Science Programmes Manager) saw the picture below and wrote:

“Absolutely no doubt that this is a grass snake (Natrix helvetica) due to the bars on the body and the yellow/black “McDonald’s arches” behind the head. It is therefore totally harmless. Cheers, John Dr John W Wilkinson, Regional, Training and Science Programmes Manager, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation”

PLEASE can we all try to protect our wildlife – even if you do not like them – for the future and for those of us who love these surviving remnants of prehistory.

A beautiful grass-snake in Backwell (Photo Mrs J Watts, May 2019).