“GRASS snakes are declining and really need our help,” Stourbridge’s answer to David Attenborough has said after a large one was seen slithering across a local mum’s driveway.

The reptile was spotted basking in the sun in Norfolk Road, Wollaston, on Thursday July 7 and left the young woman scared to go outside but many people commented on her social media post on Facebook to advise that it was just a “harmless beautiful grass snake”.

Grass snakes are one of just three species of snake native to the UK and the most commonly sighted.

Naturalist, broadcaster and author Brett Westwood, who lives in Stourbridge, confirmed the creature captured on camera in Norfolk Road was a grass snake and he said: “That’s quite a large and impressive specimen, probably a female though not in an ideal place. I hope it was re-located safely.”

Brett, who has presented on a host of BBC Radio 4 nature shows, said grass snakes can be identified by their olive green colour and black and yellow collar behind the head and he added: “They are much large and slenderer than adders which are now very rare locally and confined to Kinver Edge where there is a protection programme in place run by the National Trust.

“Adders do not occur in Stourbridge or anywhere else in the Black County.

“Grass snakes are completely harmless, but if picked up they may try to deter predators by voiding the contents of their anal glands which smell disgusting, so best not to handle them unless it is to remove them from danger or to re-locate them to a safer place.

“If picked up they sometimes try to wriggle so best to move them to a safer site in darkened box which will calm them down.”

They are keen on wetland habitats but can also be found in woodland, dry grasslands and gardens particularly those with a pond.

Brett added: “If anyone has a grass snake in their garden they are very lucky, but unless the garden is large and has plenty of cover (tall grass, log-piles, pool) it’s not likely to stay.

“Grass snakes are wanderers and any that turn up in town are likely to be lost, so the best thing is to take them to a poolside or canal with lots of shelter and ideally not near a road...most grass snake deaths are due to traffic.

“Female grass snakes are looking for somewhere to lay their eggs at this time of year and they specially like compost heaps where the heat of decomposing material helps their eggs to incubate and the young snakes hatch in September.”

If eggs, which are white and leathery, are discovered in a compost heap - people are advised to cover them back over so they can hatch.

Brett continued: “The young snakes are beautiful and brightly coloured and mainly eat worms: like the adults they spend the winter hibernating away from frost.”

He called on people to aid rather than fear grass snakes which are a protected species.

He said: “Grass snakes are declining and really need our help. Create log-piles in your garden for them to hide in, leave parts of the lawn un-mown, keep a compost heap and, best of all, build a garden pond if you want to welcome them.”