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News article created on 14 September 2016

Baby grass snake finds home on Somerset Canal

One of the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal’s youngest and most elusive residents – a baby grass snake – has been caught on camera for the first time on the historic waterway.

Baby grass snake

Mike Osment, who works for the Trust, spotted the tiny reptile heading towards one of the canal locks, and was quick enough to snap a picture.

He said: "I spotted the little fella heading towards Standards Lock. I know they can swim really well but given how tiny he was I thought he might have a bit of trouble getting out, so I moved him along the bank a bit."

Laura Mullholland, ecologist at the Trust, said: "Grass snakes really do love the waterways and are great swimmers, but it’s really rare to get to see one up close, especially one so tiny. They’re a protected species, so while they’re quite widespread, it can be difficult for them to find the kind of habitat they need to survive. A canal is ideal for them – we make sure the water’s decent quality, and they act as ‘corridors’ for the snakes to travel up and down. Visitors don’t have to worry, though, they’re completely harmless."