The Reproductive Cycle in the Grass Snake, Natrix natrix (Serpentes: Colubridae) in Iran

Abdolhossein Shiravi, Afshin Faghiri, Vida Hojati


The grass snake, Natrix natrix, is a non­-venomous oviparous snake of the family Colubridae. We studied the reproductive cycle of this species in Mazandaran, a northern province of Iran. Sampling was done from April to November and 76 female snakes were gathered by hand and net. Ovaries were removed and processed for histological study. The results show that oocyte growth starts in early June and ends in August. At this stage, the mean length and width of oocytes were 0.6 and 0.2 mm, respectively. A number of oocytes grow up and continue the vitellogenesis. At the end of vitellogenesis, the mean length and width of mature oocytes were 30 and 8 mm, respectively. Mating occurred in early summer; especially the end of June and oviposition occurred from July to August.


oogenesis; reproduction; grass snake; Natrix natrix; Iran

Full Text:



Areste M. and Cebrian R. (2003), Snakes of the World, Sterling Publishing Co., New York.

Faghiri A., Shiravi A., Hojati V., and Kami H. G. (2011), «Observations on the spermatogenic cycle of the grass snake, Natrix natrix (Serpentes: Colubridae) in northern Iran», Asian Herpetol. Res., 2(1), 55 – 59.

Farzanpey R. (1990), Identification of the Snakes, 1st Edition, University Publishing Center, Tehran.

Gregory P. T. and Isaac L. A. (2004), «Food habits of the grass snake in southeastern England: Is Natrix natrix a Generalist Predator?», J. Herpetol., 38(1), 88 – 95.

Hutchins M., Murphy J. B., and Schlager N. (2003), Grzimeks Animal Life Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition, Thomson Gale Publishing, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Latifi M. (1991), The Snakes of Iran, 3rd Edition, Iran Department of the Environment, Tehran [English translation by American Society of Amphibians and Reptiles Study in 1991, Oxford, Ohio].

Luiselli L., Capula M., and Shine R. (1997), «Food habits, growth rates and reproductive biology of grass snake, Natrix natrix (Colubridae) in the Italian Alps», J. Zool., 241(2), 371 – 380.

Madsen T. (1987), «Cost of reproduction and female life-history tactics in a population of grass snake, Natrix natrix, in southern Sweden», Oikos, 49(2), 129 – 132.

Mattison C. (1999), Snakes, Harper Collins Publishers.

Mertens D. (1995), «Structure and abundance of grass snake, Natrix natrix in Central Germany», J. Herpetol., 29(3), 454 – 456.

Rastegar-Pouyani N., Kami H. G., Rajabizadeh M., Shafiei S., and Anderson S. C. (2008), «Annotated checklist of amphibians and reptiles of iran», Iranian J. Animal Biosyst., 4(1), 43 – 66.

Saint Girons H. (1982), «Reproductive cycles of male snakes and their relationships with climate and female reproductive cycles», Herpetologica, 38(1), 5 – 16

Santos X., Gonzalez-Solis J., and Llorente G. A. (2000), «Seasonal variation in reproductive traits of the oviparous water snake, Natrix maura, in the Ebro Delta of northeastern Spain», Ecography, 23(2), 185 – 192.

Santos X., Arenas C., Llorente G. A., and Ruiz X. (2007), «Exploring the origin of egg protein in an oviparous water snake (Natrix maura)», Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. Mol. Integr. Physiol., 147(1), 165 – 172.

Warner D. A., Bonnet X., Hobson K. A., and Shine R. (2008), «Lizards combine stored energy and recently acquired nutrients flexibly to fuel reproduction», J. Animal Ecol., 77(6), 1242 – 1249.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

You can subscribe to the print or electronic version of the journal on the site of EastView Company. If you have any questions, please write to the email