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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 12, 2021

Check Out These Ssseriously Cool Ladder Snake Facts

Ladder snake facts are about this endemic species to southwestern Europe.

The ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris), also known by the scientific name Rhinechis scalaris, is a species of snake in the family Colubridae. This is an endemic species of non-venomous snakes found only in southwestern Europe. It is a common-looking snake with not many variations when compared with other related snake species. This medium-sized snake is seen in many places including Portugal, Spain, and southern France. The species is known to be fast-moving and quite nervous. They would not hesitate to bite if threatened. However, this temperament can be changed with growing age and training.

The identification of the species can be done by the prominent and distinct head that easily distinguishes itself from the body. The head looks like a squashed egg and has small non-prominent eyes with round pupils. The color of an adult ladder snake's body is uniform with shades of brown and gray. The back of the snake is also marked with longitudinal bands. The young, however, is much lighter in color and has the ladder pattern on the body with black on the upper side. The tail has a short length in the adult species with it ending in the shape of a tip.

The solitary snake species, ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris/Rhinechis scalaris) is found mostly in areas with plenty of bush cover, vineyards, hedges, and overgrown dry-stone walls. The snake is also very commonly seen in Mediterranean woodland. The range of this non-venomous snake is quite large and currently, the population number is stable too. This active snake is found all over the world at present and in abundance. The ladder snake diet also is simple and found everywhere. They eat small mammals like mice, rabbits, and birds.

For more relatable content, check out these scarlet snake facts and anaconda snake facts.

Ladder Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a ladder snake?

The ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris) is a species of snake endemic to southwestern Europe. It is a non-venomous species.

What class of animal does a ladder snake belong to?

The ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris) falls under the class of Reptilia in the kingdom of Animalia. It is part of the family Colubridae.

How many ladder snakes are there in the world?

The population of ladder snakes represented in the world is not known. The large geographical range and usually a wide number of habitats of these non-venomous snakes make them abundant in the world. There is no danger at present to the population of this species.

Where does a ladder snake live?

The ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris) is distributed across Portugal, Spain, and southern France. This is a species endemic to southwestern Europe. The range also extends just into Italy with a population also found in Menorca and the Iles d'Hyères off Provence. The snake is also seen in Ons Island, in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park.

The snake is however not seen in northern Iberia including  Pyrenees, Galicia, Basque Country, and Cantabria.

What is a ladder snake's habitat?

The preferred ladder snake habitat includes scrub bushy cover, orchards, vineyards, overgrown dry-stone walls, and hedges. The snake is also found in the maquis. Maquis is a shrubland habitat found in the Mediterranean region. Low shade areas with stones and boulders are traditionally accepted by this snake species. The species is found up to an altitude of 2300 ft (701 m) from sea level. However, these snakes have also been seen up to 6600 ft (2011.6 m).

The distribution is quite large and the habitat range is also wide for the ladder snake. Dens, hollows, and open lands are the areas where this species is known to actively search for prey. It is easy to spot these snakes in these areas.  

Who do ladder snakes live with?

This is a species that is usually active during the day. However, in hot summer months, the snake is seen working at the night hour mark. It is aggressive and defensive and quite independent. The company these snakes keep in the large range of habitats is not known.

How long does a ladder snake live?

The average life span of the ladder snake is up to 20 years of age.

How do they reproduce?

The mating season usually starts in early spring, however, the season depends on the location. In Iberia, the season starts from May to June. Some females are known not to breed every year. Usually, females are known to lay a clutch of  4-24 eggs after three to six weeks of mating. The incubation of the ladder snake eggs takes about 5-12 weeks. The ladder snake female, the mother, remains with the young for some days. The ladder snake male becomes sexually mature in five years and the same is the case for the females.

The young are only 7.8 in (19.8 cm) in length at hatching.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris) is categorized as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.

Although degradation of their habitats has caused worries for these snakes, it has not yet impacted the population numbers of these ladder snakes. The snakes are found in abundance in the preferred range of habitats.

Ladder Snake Fun Facts

What do ladder snakes look like?

The ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris) has a yellowish to brown color on the body. Two darker longitudinal parallel stripes or bands are seen running down from the neck to the tail. There is also a dark stripe from the rear of the eye to the angle of the jaw. Darker markings on the sides are also seen. A silvery gray to whitish pale ventral side is observed on the adult species, sometimes with a dark spot. The color of juveniles is lighter with brighter yellow to light brown coloration. The body of young snakes has a ladder pattern in black along the upper side. The underside is pale and has black markings. The ladder snake skin has patterns and marks and this pattern becomes more subtle and simple once the snake matures.

The ladder snake appearance is marked by the round head which is prominent and distinct and shaped like a squashed egg. The head is accompanied by small non-prominent eyes with round pupils.

The snake is can be identified by the two longitudinal stripes on its yellowish to brown body.

How cute are they?

Snakes are generally not considered cute because they are predators.

How do they communicate?

Snakes are known to communicate with the help of pheromones. They also sometimes use the head and tail to communicate.

Defensive signals are sent by the snake by hissing and lunging forward. This is done with the mouth open.

How big is a ladder snake?

The ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris) is around 47.2-63 in (119.8-160 cm) long.

How fast can a ladder snake move?

The snake is very quick and seen at work both during day and night. The speed is not known, but this species is known to quickly hold onto prey when in attack mode.

How much does a ladder snake weigh?

The weight is not known.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of the ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris) are not given different names.

What would you call a baby ladder snake?

A ladder snake baby is called a young, juvenile, or hatchling.

What do they eat?

The primary diet of the ladder snake (Rhinechis scalaris) has a range from rabbits, mice, shrews, spiders to some species of birds. This snake species also feeds on insects, mainly grasshoppers.

They prey on a wide variety of small mammals.

Are they poisonous?

This is a non-venomous species of snake. If mishandled, they will definitely bite you and leave a foul smell.

Would they make a good pet?

Snakes usually are not considered pets. There is no information available on the ladder snake being kept as a pet.

Did you know...

The ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris) can bite if mishandled but is not venomous.

Mammals, rodents, birds, and some insects constitute the diet of the ladder snake. Burrowing mammals are at risk as ladder snakes find their prey in burrows and dens.

Why are they called ladder snakes?

The ladder snake (Zamenis scalaris) is called by the name because of the ladder-like dark patterns on its  body.

Are ladder snakes endangered?

They are not endangered and are found abundant in their habitats around the world.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these common garter snake facts and smooth green snake facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable snake coloring pages.

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