February 27, 2024

Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) – my favourite tautonym

So, tautonymy. The sharper among you will have spotted the scientific name -it shouldn’t be called the Latin name by the way as there’s a fair bit of Greek and other languages used throughout taxonomy, is the same word. Being a language spod as well as a natural history spod, well and a technology spod, hmm maybe just spod then, anyhoo, I really love tautonyms and Natrix natrix is a lovely sounding one.

On this occasion, as luck would have it, the scientific name’s derivation is from the Latin, nare ‘to swim,’ which refers to this species excellent aquatic abilities. The vast majority of a Grass Snake’s prey is amphibian and another of my species of the day tautonyms bufo bufo, features very highly on the menu – first person to give me the common name in the comment box below will win an exciting prize, probably.

This particular individual was a youngster, about 8 inches long and for some idea of scale the red blob in the foreground is a Yew berry.


  1. Is it common toad? I’d like my exciting prize to have no probably about it please.