Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca)
Snipe is our wonderful adult male smooth snake, Coronella austriaca. We also have a little female smooth snake named Wren. Smooth snakes are our rarest native reptile found in only a few locations in Southern England. They are highly protected animals with a licence being required to handle or disturb them. They are brown in colour with darker spots down their backs.
In Britain smooth snakes are heathland specialists, and with heathland being an endangered habitat in the UK it is a given that that smooth snakes are endangered too. It is thought that there may be only around 3500 left in our country. They are listed as a UK BAP species, meaning their decline is of enough concern that they are now a priority of conservation efforts.
Snipe was bred in captivity by a Swiss breeder in 2018. He was then moved on to a breeder in France where he produced a few litters of offspring before moving to the UK to live with us. Wren was born in 2021 by an English breeder from captive bred parents from Germany. She still has lots of growing to do. but when she's old enough we hope to add her to our breeding programme for this species. It is important to have a healthy and genetically diverse captive population to fall back on if ever the need arose for a reintroduction programme in the future of their conservation.
Snipe lives in an outdoor enclosure, meaning he has access to natural British weather which is perfect for him to thrive. It took a while for Snipe to adjust to living outdoors as he had spent the whole of his prior life in an indoor vivarium with synthetic lighting. Wren will be moving outdoors soon once she has grown a little. They both feed well on rodents despite being notoriously difficult to feed in captivity due to their natural desire to prey on other reptiles.