Reptiles You Can Find in the UK

As reptile keepers, we’re excited about reptiles from all over the world. The UK has several species of reptiles that are rarely spoken about and people in the UK know little about them. So in this article, we thought we would list the species that you can find in the country.

Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca)

One of the rarest snakes in England, the snake can only be found in Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, and West Sussex. It is a very vulnerable snake that requires a well-managed heathland. It is highly unlikely that you will see a smooth snake as they’re very small and shy.

Barred Grass Snake (Natrix helvetica)

Barred grass snakes are a common species to be seen. They’re found across England and Wales, and even into the southwest of Scotland. The olive-green serpents have dark spots and a very distinctive yellow and black colour, something that it shares with the common grass snake. The Barred Grass Snake is the longest snake in the UK.

Common Grass Snake (Natrix Natrix)

The common grass snake is not a native to the UK, but an introduced species through human movements. Until August 2017, it was assumed that Natrix helvetica and Natrix Natrix were the same species. That was until genetic analysis was conducted on the Barred Grass Snakes that found it was distinct. Something similar happened with the Green Anaconda.

Adder (Vipera berus)

The Adder is the only venomous snake in the UK. It can be found as far north as the top of mainland Scotland. It is a small snake that prefers to hide. Though it is frequently disturbed by cats and dogs. Dogs bitten by species can suffer from significant health problems and perhaps death. The last recorded death by the Adder was in 1975, with only 14 confirmed fatalities in history.

You can recognize an adder because of its distinctive zigzag pattern on the upperparts and red eye.

Aesculapian Snake (Zamenis longissimus)

This species of snake is a non-native species that has established two populations in the UK. One of these is in London, in Regent’s Park along the Thames. The other is in North Wales. The population in London was caused by the release of the species from a research centre at 

London Zoo (but not affiliated with the Zoo). The North Wales species was caused by an escaped female from a zoo that was gravid. All the offspring of this group are related. 

A third population is thought to exist in Bridgend, South Wales. It is important to note that this species is thought to have existed in the UK during an interglacial period until its range declined as the world cooled again.

Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis)

The Slow Worm is often mistaken for a snake but is actually a legless lizard. They can be found in many locations across the UK. They are comparatively small reptiles, with no legs, and a metallic bronze sheen, and the females have dark stripes along the body. Slow Worms feed on insects, slugs, spiders, and other small invertebrates. Like with many lizards, their tails can break off.

Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

The most widespread of all UK wild reptiles, it is the only native reptile found in Northern Ireland too. It is highly variable in colour and can be found in a wide range of habitats. This species is viviparous, giving birth to live young after incubating their eggs inside the body.

Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis)

This very rare species of lizard is highly threatened. It can only be found in a few spots across the UK, in heathland and coastal sand dunes. The species is included in several conservation efforts. It is larger than the common lizard, generally brown in colour with bright green faces. 

Females of this species do lay eggs.

Final Word: Reptiles You Can Find in the UK

Above are all the species of reptiles that you can find in the UK. A few of these have been introduced. The common grass snake is thought to be introduced partly by mistake as it was once considered to be the same as the Barred Grass Snake. The other introduced species, Aesculapian Snake, was done by accident by individuals working on zoo premises.

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