Fun Aesculapian Snake Facts For Kids

Mellisa Nair
Oct 20, 2022 By Mellisa Nair
Originally Published on Aug 09, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Interesting Aesculapian snake facts that will amaze you.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.4 Min

This article will tell you everything you need to know about a special species of Colubrid snakes.

The Aesculapian snake non-venomous snake species belonging to the most diverse snake family Colubridae and the genus of Zamenis. It was introduced and first described by Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti, an Austrian naturalist, and zoologist of Italian origin, in 1768.

The scientific names of this species have changed several times, Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti named the species as Natrix longissima, which was later changed to Coluber longissimus and Elaphe longissima by other zoologists and taxonomists. Its current bionominal name is Zamenis longissimus.

The word longissimus is a Latin word meaning 'the longest'.

The common name of the species in French is aesculape, which is a reference to the god of healing. The Aesculapian snake (Zamenis longissimus) has great cultural and historical significance in European countries, because of its role in ancient Greek, Roman, and Illyrian mythology.

If you liked these snakes, read about some other arthropods from our milk snake facts and king rat snake facts pages.

Aesculapian Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Aesculapian snake?

An Aesculapian snake just as its name suggests is a snake belonging to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does an Aesculapian snake belong to?

These snakes belong to the Reptile class, Colubridae family, and the order Squamata.

How many Aesculapian snakes are there in the world?

These snakes are found in plenty across Europe.

Where does an Aesculapian snake live?

These snakes are endemic to Europe, their geographic range includes the United Kingdom, Spain, Greece, the Balkan peninsula, parts of Switzerland and Austria, Italy except the south and Sicily, and France except in the north.

What is an Aesculapian snake's habitat?

The Aesculapian snake (Zamenis longissimus) habitat includes meadows, gardens, and sheds, warmer temperate broadleaf forests, riverbeds, forest steppes, or shrublands at the edge of forests, a warm or moderately humid rocky region with sufficient vegetation.

These snakes are synanthropic, meaning they somewhat depend on human civilization for shelter and food and benefit by associating with humans. Therefore, inhabit old houses, stone walls, buildings, and ruins, as these places provide them with several basking and hiding spots.

To put it simply, their ideal habitat helps them with thermoregulation, and they avoid open lands.

Who do Aesculapian snake live with?

The Aesculapian snake (Zamenis longissimus) is solitary and prefers living alone. It temporarily pairs up with another snake during the mating or breeding season.

How long does an Aesculapian snake live?

An Aesculapian snake has a life span of 25 - 30 years.

How do they reproduce?

Aesculapian snakes reach sexual maturity when they are about four to six years of age. Males are very competitive and aggressive towards each other, so they often get into fights to showcase their physical dominance and to impress a female nearby.

These snakes reproduce through the process of internal fertilization. The reproduction season lasts from mid-May to mid-June.

Males travel as far as 1.2 mi (2 km) to find a female partner. While mating, the snakes intertwine their bodies and rise, displaying an elegant performance between males and the females.

The male may also grasp the female's head with its jaw during copulation. About 8-10 eggs are laid four or five weeks later in a moist warm spot, in rotting wood logs, old tree stumps, or leaf mold, usually under hay piles and other similar spots.

In the northern parts of their range, some snakes share hatching grounds with fellow members and other snake species as well, such as grass snakes. The eggs incubate for around seven or eight weeks before they hatch.

What is their conservation status?

The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species has classified Aesculapian snake (Zamenis longissimus) as a species of Least Concern.

Aesculapian Snake Fun Facts

What do Aesculapian snake look like?

Among Aesculapian snakes, adults are uniform sometimes being olive-yellow, brownish-green, sometimes almost black.

Among adults, regular patterns of freckles appear all over the body, which enhances their already shiny and metallic appearance.

Occasionally, some pale-colored snakes display a pair of dark longitudinal lines or patterns along the flanks. Their belly is usually yellow or off-white, the eyes are round and the iris is amber.

Aesculapian juveniles are often confused with juveniles of other species such as grass snakes and barred grass snakes, as they share an uncanny resemblance.

Juvenile Aesculapian snakes have a yellow collar or band around their neck, that eventually fades away as they grow, they have pale green or brown-green bodies with darker patterns in the form of lines running along the flanks and on their back, their heads have several dark spots, a horizontal line near one of the eyes that extends till the collar on their neck, and a shorter vertical line that connects the other eye to the upper labial scales.

Aesculapian snake

How cute are they?

They are fairly cute, with prominent patterns, speckles, covering their body, and chain-like bands around their neck which makes them look quite unique!

How do they communicate?

Species of snake Aesculapian leave a trail of chemical cues called pheromones. They analyze these chemical cues in their surroundings via sense, taste, smell, and the vomeronasal system.

Analysis of these chemical cues is very important, as it allows the snakes to communicate their sex, and  reproductive condition. Male species are very competitive and show no sympathy towards each other.

Thus, to communicate their dominance they engage in combat, they try to get on top to bite each other, sometimes with a chewing-like movement of the mouth or pin their opponent's head on the ground, to claim victory.

This behavior is encouraged even more during the mating season, especially if a female is nearby. Even though snakes do not have ears and are considered deaf, some zoologists speculate that hissing or growling are ways to communicate vocally.

How big is an Aesculapian snake?

An Aesculapian snake grows up to 5.5 ft (1.7 m) in length and is among some of the largest snake species in Europe.

They are nearly three times the size of a common garter snake.

How fast can an Aesculapian snake run?

An Aesculapian snake can travel quite fast

How much does an Aesculapian snake weigh?

A female Aesculapian snake weighs about 1.1 lb (550 g) and a male species weigh about 1.9 lb (850 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The Aesculapian snake species do not have separate names for their male and female members. Therefore, the species are simply denoted as males and females.

What would you call a baby Aesculapian snake?

A baby Aesculapian snake is called a neonate or snakelet. Juvenile snakes can be easily distinguished from adults because of they are brownish green with various darker spots and lines.

What do they eat?

The Aesculapian snake is solitary and active during the day, from late afternoon or early evening until dusk. They eat lizards, rodents, shrews, moles, small birds and young chicks, bird eggs.

They hunt and kill their prey by a special move or method called constriction, this method is used to tightly grasp the prey and suffocate them, and sometimes even crush their bones. Juveniles generally prey on the same animals as adults, but they prefer targeting the young offspring, as they are easier to hunt.

Predators such as hedgehogs, badgers, foxes, wild boars, hawks, eagles, falcons, prey on this species. Juveniles are often eaten by other larger snakes of the Colubridae family or larger venomous snakes.

The eggs which are usually laid close to human civilization are also threatened by cats, rats, chickens, and dogs.

To avoid predators they often take advantage of their coloration and camouflage or mix with their surroundings, they are confidents that the unique patterns and neutral colors will keep them hidden within their natural environment they usually disappear or run away. However, when cornered they may intimidate their opponent, sometimes stand their ground, and fight for their lives!

Are they poisonous?

Yes, some may be poisonous. A little reminder that these snakes are non-venomous, which means they have little to no venom, that is not harmful to humans. As some of their prey of other animals that are poisonous or have venom, they also ingest the venom present in the prey. Thus, making them poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

These snakes are harmless to humans and would make good pets. The only downside is, that they can grow up to 5.5 ft (1.7 m) long.

If their growing size does not bother you and you live in a region with suitable climatic conditions and can provide a comfortable home to these snakes you should consider keeping them as a pet.

Did you know...

The species along with the four-lined snake is carried in an annual religious procession in Cocullo, central Italy, and was later made part of their catholic calendar.

Ireland, in Europe, is a country completely devoid of snakes. Whereas, the United Kingdom is home to several snake species including, the adder snake, the smooth snake, and the grass snake.

What is the largest snake in Europe?

The Caspian whipsnake is the largest species of snake found in Europe. They grow up to 6.5 ft (1.9 m)in length.

How many eggs do Aesculapian snakes lay?

The egg clutch consists of eight to 10 eggs, which are laid in a moist warm spot.

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 Siamese crocodile facts or Sonoran gopher snake facts pages.

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

Aesculapian Snake Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Lizards, rodents, smaller snakes

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivore

Average Litter Size?

8-11

How Much Did They Weigh?

1.1-1.9 lb (550-890 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

ruins, temperate forests

Where Do They Live?

united kingdom, france, italy

How Long Were They?

Up to 5.5 ft (1.7 m)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Reptilia

Genus

Zamenis

Family

Colubridae

Scientific Name

Zamenis longissimus

What Do They Look Like?

Yellow, green, olive

Skin Type

Scales

What Are Their Main Threats?

predatory birds, larger snakes

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Mellisa Nair

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Mellisa Nair picture

Mellisa NairBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Specializing in the creation of SEO-friendly content, Mellisa brings enthusiasm and expertise to our team. Her work in digital marketing and social media is complemented by her academic background in economics and English literature, as she holds a Bachelor's degree in these subjects from Wilson College Chowpatty, Mumbai. Mellisa's experience working with clients from various industries, including retail, education, and technology, reflects her ability to adapt her skills to different contexts and audiences.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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