Grass snake named Animal of the Year

Homelessness is an increasing problem for grass snakes in Switzerland Stefan Dummermuth

The grass snake has been named Animal of the Year for 2015 by the nature protection organisation Pro Natura. The population of the reptile, also known as the ringed snake or water snake, is considered “vulnerable” in Switzerland. 

This content was published on January 5, 2015

Pro Natura also launched on Monday an appeal for the maintenance or creation of reptile habitats such as ponds. 

The grass snake (Natrix natrix) is one of three water snakes in Switzerland – the others being the dice snake and the viperine snake. Females can grow to up to 140cm, males are smaller. 

It is not venomous and is harmless for humans, the organisation said. It lives in or near water, where it catches its food: frogs, toads, salamanders and fish. The problem is that these areas are “dwindling drastically”. 

Not only the authorities but also private garden owners can do their part to help the snakes, said Sabine Mari from Pro Natura. 

“Piles of stones and wood can be used by reptiles – and other small animals – as a shelter. And compost heaps can serve as places to lay eggs,” she said. “It’s also important to not use pesticides.”

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.