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Smooth snake, C. austriaca
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Coronella
Laurenti, 1768[1]
Common names: Smooth snakes.[1]

Coronella is a genus of harmless colubrids found in Europe, North Africa and West Asia.[1] Three species are currently recognized.[2]


These are relatively small species, rarely growing to more than 60 cm in length. The head is only slightly distinct from the neck and the pupils are round. The teeth of the upper jaw increase in size towards the back. The body is almost cylindrical and covered with smooth scales. The subcaudals are paired.[1]


They are terrestrial and rather secretive, spending much of their time under cover.[1]


Their diet is made up mainly of lizards and the young of other snakes, as well as small rodents, especially young still in the nest. They have often been described as constrictors, although there is no good evidence for this.[1] Street (1979) notes that prey is held firmly in its coils, but only for the purpose of restraint rather than to kill it.[3]

Geographic range

Europe, North Africa and West Asia.[1]


Species[2] Authority[2] Subsp.*[2] Common name[2] Geographic range[2]
C. austriaca Laurenti, 1768 2 Smooth snake Finland, southern Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, southern England, northern Spain, northern Portugal, France, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece (incl. Samothraki), Albania, Turkey, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, western Kazakhstan, northern Asia Minor, northern Iran.
C. brachyura (Günther, 1866) 0 Indian smooth snake India (northern Maharashtra).
C. girondica (Daudin, 1803) 1 Southern smooth snake Spain, Portugal, southern France, Italy, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia.

*) Not including the nominate subspecies (typical form).


Coronella is closely related to the American kingsnakes (Lampropeltis) and both groups were once classified within the same genus.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Steward JW. 1971. The Snakes of Europe. Cranbury, New Jersey: Associated University Press (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press). 238 pp. LCCCN 77-163307. ISBN 0-8386-1023-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Genus Coronella at The Reptile Database
  3. Street D. 1979. The Reptiles of Northern and Central Europe. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. 268 pp. ISBN 0-7134-1374-3.
  4. Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.

External links