Russian Rat Snakes are not a native species in the region, but the reptiles are acclimatising to the northern Netherlands extremely well.
Translation by Traci White
The snakes, which are non-venomous constrictors and are larger than most species of snakes in the Netherlands, are thriving in the northern Netherlands, especially in Drenthe. The densest population is in the Drenthe municipality of Tynaarlo, but RTV Drenthe reports that at least one snake was recently spotted in Peize.
Ravon, a Dutch reptile, amphibian and fish research institution, says that the Russian Rat Snake was spotted in the vicinity of Groningen Airport Eelde for the first time in 1994. This particular snake species is popular among terrarium keepers, and the first snakes likely wound up there when an owner released them into the wild.
Since then, the introduced species has really taken to the area and now has a fairly large territory. One Russian Rat Snake was identified in a garden in Vries, and a young one was hit by a car in Peize recently.
Based on their current observations, the number of eggs that have been found and the conducive natural conditions, Ravon says that it is likely that the snake population and its territory will continue to grow in the coming years.
Russian Rat Snakes can get up to 2.5 meters long, but most of the snakes of this species in the Netherlands are fairly small. The snake is almost entirely black with irregular yellow or white stripes.
Photo source: Rvanbeusichem CC-BY-SA-3.0, from Wikimedia Commons