Grass Snake

Natrix natrix




Gjarpri ujit

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Assessment info
Habitat and Ecology
Use and Trade
Conservation Actions


Scientific name

Natrix natrix


(Linnaeus, 1758)


Coluber natrix Linnaeus, 1758; Coluber persa Pallas, 1814; Coluber scutatus Pallas, 1771; Coluber torquatus Lacepede, 1789; Natrix vulgaris Laurenti, 1768; Tropidonotus ater Eichwald, 1831; Tropidonotus natrix Eichwald, 1831;

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

LC – Least Concern

Date assessed

November 2019


Sterijovski, B.

Arsovski, D.


Crnobrnja-Isailović, J.




Hofman, M.P.G.


The Grass Snake is widely distributed in North Macedonia, both horizontally and vertically. Its distribution, nevertheless, seems to be limited to a significant part by the presence of water bodies where/in whose vicinity it often hunts, explaining the comparably smaller area of occupancy (AOO; 1.176km2). The threats that freshwater systems are facing, threaten the Grass Snake as well to a certain extent, but being very widespread its populations are still seemingly not fragmented and coping well. Additionally, this snake is present in all neighboring countries and can easily benefit from regional rescue effects. Having all this in mind, it was downlisted from its potential status as Vulnerable according to the limited AOO, to Least Concern. Globally and in Europe, this species has been assessed as Least Concern.


Current population trend



In North Macedonia the population size is not accurately determined. Where present seemingly quite common, but habitat degradation and destruction have likely caused population reductions.

Habitat and Ecology


Terrestrial, Freshwater (=Inland waters)

Habitat and Ecology

Inhabits all kinds of wetlands – ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, marshes and ditches, but also open woodlands, grasslands and gardens (Speybroeck et al. 2016). Both diurnal and nocturnal, often feeding on amphibians, but will also prey on fish, lizards, birds and small rodents (Luiseli et al. 2005). Males mature at ~45cm total length and females at ~60cm total length. Mating occurs in spring and females lay ~30 eggs two to five weeks later (Speybroeck et al. 2016).

Use and trade

Use and trade

Individuals are sometimes spotted as captive-bred by hobbyists and distributed within the hobbyist community. In one occasion one specimen was exhibited in a pet store in Skopje.



Threats affecting its main food source (i.e. amphibians; Luiselli et al. 2005) also threaten this species. Primarily, habitat destruction through irrigation and the construction of mini hydro power plants on small rivers in the mountainous regions of North Macedonia pose direct threats. Since Grass Snakes spend most of their time in and around water, nutrient and chemical pollution of water systems can indirectly affect this species via their food source. As is the case with all snake species in Macedonia, it is often persecuted by humans, but not as intensely as most whip snakes and vipers. Additionally, it falls victim to roads and vehicles particularly in the spring.

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

It is listed on Annex II of the Bern Convention and on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. Nationally, it is not on the list of protected wild species.

The national action for the “prevention of loss, degradation and fragmentation of natural habitats of national and international importance” prioritizes the following actions (National biodiversity strategy and action plan, 2018):

o   10.4 Protection and restoration of swamp habitats/wetlands and riparian habitats

o   10.4.1 Identification of the most affected lowland swamps/wetlands and preparation of action plans for their conservation

o   10.4.2 Identification of the most affected high-altitude swamps/wetlands and preparation of action plans for their conservation

o   10.4.3 Development of a plan and implementation of activities for the prevention of swamp and wetland degradation due to intensification of agriculture, irrigation, fish stocking and other activities of the economic sectors

o   10.4.4 Implementation of pilot measures for the restoration of wetlands



Sillero, N., Campos, J., Bonardi, A., Corti, C., Creemers, R., Crochet, P.-A., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Denoël, M., Ficetola, G.F., Gonçalves, J., Kuzmin, S., Lymberakis, P., de Pous, P., Rodríguez, A., Sindaco, R., Speybroeck, J., Toxopeus, B., Vieites, D.R., Vences, M. 2014. Updated distribution and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Europe. .p 1-31.

Micevski, B. 2015. Report of Biodiversity conditions of amphibians and reptiles of Ograzden Mt. 2014-2015 . Skopje . .p/.

Uzunova, D., Kitanova, D., Spirovska, M., Hristovski, S .2015. Integral Report for the Project implementation. Final report of the project “Ecological data gap analysis and ecological sensitivity map development for the Bregalnica river watershed”. Skopje . .p/.

Sterijovski, B. 2018. Final report for monitoring. Maneko. Skopje . .p/.

Pharmachem .2018. The Study on Biological Diversity in the Area of Sasa Mine – Makedonska Kamenica. Pharmachem Skopje. Skopje. .p/.

Sterijovski, B., Tomović, L., Ajtić, R. 2014. Contribution to the knowledge of the Reptile fauna and diversity in FYR of Macedonia. .p 83–92.

Uhrin et al. 2016. Distribution updates to amphibian and reptile fauna for the Republic of Macedonia. .p 201-220.

Ministry of environment and physical planning. 2018. National biodiversity strategy and action plan : for the period 2018 – 2023 Ministry of environment and physical planning .Skopje . .p 183.

Speybroeck, J. Beuckema, W., Bok, B., Voort, J.V.D. 2016. Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc London . .p/.

Gasc, J-P., Cabela, A., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Dolmen, D., Grossenbacher, K., Haffner, P., Lescure, J., Martens, H., Martinez-Rica, J.P., Maurin, H., Oliveira, M.L., Sofianidou, T.S., Veith, M., Zuiderwijk, A. 1997. Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica & Museum Nationall d’ Histoire Naturelle (IEGB/SPN) .Paris. .p 496.

Luiselli, L., Filippi, E., Capula, M. 2005. Geographic variation in diet composition of the Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) along the mainland and an island of Italu: the effects of habitat type and interference with potential competitors. .p 221-230.