Discover the 5 Most Snake-Infested Rivers In England

Written by Justin Sexton
Published: September 22, 2023
Share on:


England is the home of the United Kingdom, the Royal Parliment, British Soccer, and multiple bodies of water. If you go “across the pond” to the famous island, it’s the home of many rivers and ponds. The country’s climate is home to several snakes such as the smooth snake, grass snake, and the adder. Although England’s snake population is not large, they can be found in different areas. Before you discover the 5 most snake-infested rivers in England, let’s learn more about the snakes themselves.

Adder Snakes Can Be Found Everywhere In England

Adder snakes are England’s only venomous snakes. The common adder greatly varies in weight and size and it’s the only snake type that can live above the Arctic Circle. They’re the smallest snakes overall, but they can pack a punch with their venom to take down any animal. Adders are commonly found throughout Europe and many parts of Asia.

Adders hibernate in October and finish hibernation in April. Reports of Adder snake bites happen between April and October. They bite in common areas such as hands and feet for humans and dog’s noses. They’re distinctively black and grey looking with a zig-zag pattern on their bodies.

Adders are able to live in every part of England and prey on birds, rodents, and lizards.

Smooth Snakes Are A Rare Breed In The UK

Embed from Getty Images

Smooth snakes are rarer to find. They only live in the Southern part of England. It’s not only limited in its population size, they’re also limited in where they live.

Smooth snakes grow to thirty inches and are non-venomous. They’re able to restrict small animals but if they bite humans or dogs, the bites are nonlethal. They are grey and dull-brown in color with two rows of dots marking across their backs.

Grass Snakes

grass snake on lily pad in water

Snakes require an external heat source to power their metabolism.


Grass snakes are the most common snake types in England. They’re completely harmless to humans and animals. These snakes are surprisingly strong swimmers and live in water-based areas.

Grass Snakes longest snake in not just England, but the United Kingdom. At an adult age, grass snakes can grow up to a meter long in length. It’s easy to tell the difference between a Grass and an Adder snake based on color and scale pattern. Grass snakes are greyish and green in color with a yellow and black collar around the neck. Adders are grey and black in color with a unique zig-zag pattern on its back.

The Snake-Infested Rivers In England

Here’s a list of the five most snake-infested rivers in England:

  • Sherborne Brook
  • River Swale
  • River Cuckmere In South Downs
  • River Thames
  • River Severn

Sherborne Brook

A segment on Grass Snakes on the show Springwatch

Although there’s an unknown count of how many snakes are in England, Sherborne Brook is home to plenty of grass snakes. What keeps the grass snakes in the area is their diet. Grass snakes consume amphibians, bugs, and rodents. Sherborne Brook is a perfect home for grass snakes as they burrow underground to regulate their temperature when the weather gets cold. They love the foggy, marshy terrain because they can move across the surface of the water perfectly.

River Swale

River Swale is one of the many rivers near the Yorkshire Moor. The Yorkshire Moor is one of the most popular parks in the United Kingdom. It has a wonderful sunset that visitors can witness during the late summer. The River Swale is located in the Central/Nothern area of England. Adder snakes and grass snakes can be found there.

River Cuckmere In South Downs England

The Cuckmere is a small lowland river that cuts through the South Downs park. It’s a river that boats commonly used to travel to Alfriston during the Victorian Era. Cuckmere is an underdeveloped estuary filled with grass snakes, adders, smooth snakes, and many different types of birds. The River Cuckmere funnels into the English Channel just below it. Smooth snakes inhabit the Cuckmere and mostly attack prey such as small amphibians and fish in the river.

River Thames

Aerial view of Staines-upon-Thames, a town on the left bank of the River Thames in Surrey, England

Aerial view of Staines-upon-Thames, a town on the left bank of the River Thames in Surrey, England

©Alexey Fedorenko/

The next river in this article is the longest river in England, the River Thames. River Thames flows over two hundred fifteen miles. To put the size of the river in the British perspective, the England mainland is only three hundred miles long. It’s the second-longest river in the United Kingdom which consists of Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England.

Wildlife in the River Thames includes the likes of grass snakes, eels, seals, salmon, trout, beavers, and otters. The snakes may not be the largest population in the River Thames, but they stretch across the largest English and second-largest river in the United Kingdom.

River Severn

River Severn cuts through the Worcester area of central England. Fishermen have reported several times of snakes swimming towards them. Grass snakes mostly reside in the lakes around River Severn and the river itself. The Worcester Wildlife Trust Department suggests not to capture grass snakes in the rivers or lakes. They see the snakes as a protected species and request to take photos of them. Urban expansion and habitat loss in the area are the leading causes of the declining snake population at Worcester.

Summary of the Five Most Snake-Infested Rivers In England

RiversLocationWhat Snakes Can Be Found There
Sherborne BrookSouthwest England near FarmingtonAdder and Grass
River SwaleNear Yorkshire Moor in Central/Northern EnglandAdder and Grass Snakes
River CuckmerereSouth Downs, EnglandSmooth, Adder, and Grass Snakes
River ThamesAll throughout EnglandGrass and Adder Snakes
River SevernNear Worcester in Central England

The photo featured at the top of this post is © RAW-films/

Share on:
About the Author

Justin is an A-Z Animals Writer that loves to cover places, unique natural disasters, and travel. He has eight years of experience as a writer in the medical and media fields. He wrote for the likes of VCU Health, theMSQshop, PayDay LA, and Comic Book Resources under the penname Jay Guevara. Although he's a full time writer, Justin graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019 with a Bachelors in Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science with a background in Community Engagement. After spending over two decades in Richmond, Virginia, Justin now resides in the suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga, California. He's a dedicated gymrat. He's also a two-time poetry author who's influenced by rappers Joe Budden and IDK along with Dante Alighieri.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.