We’re sat beside the lake at my local country park when I see an unmistakable shape just in front of us, next to the bank. “Look! It’s a snake.” I say trying to control my feet as I run to get a photograph of it. I feel like I’m dancing a happy dance while I do it.
It has a very distinctive golden collar just behind its head. I can see its forked tongue flicking in and out:
It’s swimming strongly for the opposite bank. How it swims I’d love to know. It’s a Grass Snake, Natrix natrix.
It’s name, natrix, probably comes from the Latin nare or natare “to swim”. After seeing this one swimming strongly across the lake, that makes sense to me.