Log in Register

Aesculapian snake in the tree

Aesculapian snakes ofthen climb trees, especially in the breeding season of birds, when they eat eggs and chicks.

(Photo: Gergely Babocsay)

The AESCULAPIAN SNAKE is the second largest snake in Hungary after the Caspian whip snake; usually up to 120 cm (body+tail), but some individuals may reach 200 cm. Ground colour brown, yellowish, greenish or olive brown, sometimes with two pale dark bands along the sides of the back and two along the flanks. White or light blue streaks are found on the edges of dorsal scales on mid-body. Belly yellow or creamy white. A pale brown or greyish brown band stretches between the eyes and the corners of the mouth. Throat and both the upper and lower lips yellow. There is a grey morph which may be dark or mid grey on the back, and speckled with very few brown scales, its belly is grey. This form too has the light scale-edge streaks on mid-body. Scales not keeled.

Young markedly different from sub-adults and adults with brown or buff ground colour, darker spots and conspicuous white streaks on scales. They also have a bright yellow blotch following the dark band between the eyes and the corners of the mouth (somewhat similar to grass snake). In these young animals, there may be a dark bar across the head in front of the eyes and a reversed (opening towards the body) V or U shaped brown mark on the neck. Belly greyish-brown.

Distibution map by our National Herpetological Mapping Program:

Aesculapian snake

One of the longest snakes in Hungary, sometimes reaching 2 meters.

(Photo: Bálint Halpern)


Aesculapian snake in the grassy yard

Occasionally appears in environments other than forests.

(Photo: Bálint Halpern)

Young Aesculapian snake

Young specimens have dark blotches along the back. Their yellow temporal bloch is conspicuous.

(Photo: Bálint Halpern)

Teeth of Aesculapian snake

Adults specimens have large teeth to catch prey. When handled, they often bite and the teeth can tear up skin resulting in heavy bleeding. Their bite otherwise is harmless. 

(Photo: Bálint Halpern)

Grey colour moprh of Aesculapian snake

Some specimens can be completely grey.

(Photo: Bálint Halpern)

Aesculapian snake in the garden

This snake often wander in gardens near natural habitats.

(Photo: Bálint Halpern)

Aesculapian snake in the nest box

Aesculapian snakes may rob nests in nest boxes. After eating up all the chicks they may stay in the box for the time of digestion.

(Photo: Bálint Halpern)

Colour of Aesculapian snake

The back is brownish, olive-brown, yellowish-brown with little pattern. Only at mid-body one can see small whitish streaks along the edges of scales. Some specimens have two darker lines along the edges of the back. The belly, the throat and the lips are yellow.

(Photo: Tibor Kovács)

Aesculapian snake feeding

It often raids bird nests eating up all the nestlings.

(Photo: Ágnes Szigethy)