It can grow to approximately 200cm in length, but it usually averages between 140cm-160cm. The snake is often a light brown colour with a pattern of small white spots along its back and the belly is usually white/yellowish. The young of these snakes are greyish brown with a row of dark spots on their back and a yellow area on either side of the head (the young snakes are often mistaken for grass snakes).
These snakes can be found living in dry places such as dry stone walls, sunny parts of wooded areas, paths and tracks when sunning itself (although it avoids excessive heat) and on the southerly-facing exposed slopes. These snakes are quite good at climbing trees.
It is not known as being a very aggressive snake, but it will defend itself if harassed, by making chewing noises with its jaw, biting or even emitting a foul-smelling liquid from its glands.