I know that in some countries there are more snakes than people would like. In certain countries my first inclination might have been to bash it over the head with a spade and ask questions later. However this is England and we don't have many snakes. This one is a grass snake, it is non venomous and I thought I ought to rescue it and it was an interesting project to do with the kids.
I've never seen a snake in the wild in England before so I was quite surprised to find this one stuck on my allotment. Although I'd never seen one before I was pretty confident that it was a grass snake and not an escaped pet with enough venom to kill a horse.
It had somehow managed to squeeze its body into some plastic netting that I was covering my fruit bushes with, not just through one loop in the netting but through several, and had become stuck.
The netting is pretty tough and it was actually cutting into the snake's skin.
Here it is stuck in the netting.
I realized that I wasn't going to get it out of the netting without hurting it so I cut the netting off around the snake and took it home.
Now grass snakes aren't venomous but that doesn't mean they won't try to protect themselves. I guess they can bite and I wasn't 100% sure that my ID was correct so I made sure I avoided that possibility. The main defences mechanisms it has are to either make an awful smell from their anus or to play dead. This snake decided to make an awful smell and it was pretty bad.
Here's the snake at home under a lamp and magnifying glass with me carefully cutting the netting from it. This was difficult to do without hurting the snake. And it kept making an awful stink.
This snake was well and truly caught up in the netting. I had to cut away about ten loops that it had squeezed through. I really don't know how it managed to do this. I've used the same netting for years and never had any problems with wildlife getting caught in it before.
I had my wife call the RSPCA to see if there was any advice they could give us but as usual they weren't very useful.
Here it is free at last (that's my daughter's hand).
There were a few cuts on its body were the plastic netting had dug into it but they looked superficial and I felt confident that if I returned it to my allotment it would stand a pretty good chance of surviving (at least until something preyed on it ).
I put it in a cardboard box and let it go close to where I'd found it.