The Dice Snake, Natrix tessellata, is a European non-venomous snake of the family Colubridae. It is found throughout Europe and Asia. Commonly found in Germany, Austria, France, Bosnia, Serbia, Italy, Albania, Romania, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, China and many other countries.
Dice Snakes tend to be 39 to 51 inches long with the females larger than the males. The colors may vary from Grayish-green to brownish or almost black, with dark spots on the back. The belly is sometimes vividly colored in yellow or orange, with black spots, similar to dice, hence the name.
It feeds mostly on fish and lives mainly near rivers, streams and lakes. Sometimes it will feed on frogs, toads, and other amphibians. In defense from predators it will spray a bad smelling secretion from its anal cavity. It will also play dead, referred to as “˜tanatosis’.
During the breeding season (March to May) they congregate in large groups. Eggs are usually laid in July and a clutch consists of 10 to 30 eggs. Snakes hatch in early September. Dice Snakes hibernate from October to as late as April in dry holes near water.
Photo by Andrei Daniel Mihalca