The dice snake (scient. Natrix tessellata) is a kind of water snake, which occurs frequently in the permanent wetlands, the sea shores and rock pools of Crete. Many Cretans call it water snake, but this name actually belongs to the relative species of Natrix natrix, which is absent from the island. Finally there is the suspicion that the dice snake of Crete belongs to a totally separate species than Natrix tessellata, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet.
The dice snake passes much of his time hunting in the water (both fresh and salty), up to 1000m altitude. Inside water it moves very fast and smartly. Its main diet consists of fish, frogs and toads.
If picked up, this snake will rarely bite, but it can and does emit a strong-smelling fluid and make a whistling sound in an attempt to put its tormentor off. It also pretends being dead by turning upside down, with open mouth and its tongue out. It is non-venomous and usually reaches 80cm in length. It mates in the spring and females lay 5-25 eggs in the summer.