France

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huck
Posts: 29
Joined: July 25th, 2016, 6:26 pm
Location: Los Angeles

France

Post by huck »

Hey guys! My name is Huck and I'm fourteen years old. This is my first post and it isn't all that great but I just wanted to ask if anyone had any tips on herping in Provence while I'm there, specifically in the cotê d'azur region where it is dry and hot, where vineyards blanket the lowlands and chaparral covers the hills. I'm looking for maybe some grass snakes (natrix natrix) or some slow worms (anguis fragilis). I know it's hot in France, but I'm hoping for something. Thanks!

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lateralis
Posts: 318
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:56 pm
Location: SW USA

Re: France

Post by lateralis »

Howdy there Huck,

Yep it's hot but you should see some stuff early and later in the day. You are not far from Verdon which is a great climbing area and loaded with some good habitat and water down in the bottom of the gorge. I have not been back for quite some time but as I recall the towns of La Palud sur Verdon, Rougon, Trigance, and most of the area between Côte d' Azur and Verdon have good habitat. Bon chance!

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: France

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck »

You are much more likely to find Natrix maura and e.g. Malpolon monspessulanus in that area than the species you mentioned. Especially maura should be fairly easy in any type of not too fast flowing water. They are not too picky in terms of water quality and may feed on both fish and amphibians. Prospecting the banks and shallows of lakes or ponds at night tends to be most productive. Anguis is also not your typical species for Mediterranean habitats. If you want to find it, try moving to higher elevation and/or to places with sufficient humidity. In those spots, they can be found fairly easily if you flip enough stuff that's not too much exposed. In the extreme SE of France it's actually Anguis veronensis. For Malpolon, get up early and scrutinize rocky areas with some vegetation, although it's a trash snake, which can just as well be found under garbage. Night drives may produced snakes like Rhinechis scalaris (but by no means at a rate like in the southern US). Scrutinising rock walls with geckoes may produce Coronella girondica. On the whole, though, that's a brutal season. Water habitat is always a good bet. Besides the Verdon river, the Gardon (Pont du Gard) is also good for Natrix maura. Come to think of it, I've actually caught a Natrix natrix very close to the Pont du Gard once... Another great area is the Massif des Maures, which is good for one of Europe's finest lizards, Timon lepidus, but also has tortoises, Mediterranean tree frog, and Natrix maura in practically every water body (especially in this time of year).

Let us know what you found!

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huck
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Joined: July 25th, 2016, 6:26 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: France

Post by huck »

Thank you guys so much. I will definitely post what I find! So far I've found malpolon although it was to fast to capture a picture of it. I've caught surplus moorish geckos and found a dead natrix natrix! Last year I found rhinechis and took a mediocre pic, I'll post it when I get back.

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BillMcGighan
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Location: Unicoi, TN

Re: France

Post by BillMcGighan »

Huck, if you and your family are staying in the city near the coast, a good bet is to have someone take you out just north of Nice, 10-20 kilometers. Here the human population starts to lessen and you can take advantage of the good suggestions that Jeroen and “Lateralis” has given you.
You are much more likely to find Natrix maura and e.g. Malpolon monspessulanus in that area than the species you mentioned. Especially maura should be fairly easy in any type of not too fast flowing water.

In the river bed of the Var and its tributaries, you can flip stones and regularly find viperine water snakes (Natrix maura) (called “viper d'eau” by locals); in cooler weather, stones in the sun; in hotter weather, stones in the shade or water’s edge.


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It’s so much like southern California, you can use your skills from home in the chaparral region.


Anguis is also not your typical species for Mediterranean habitats. If you want to find it, try moving to higher elevation
From the Nice general area, you can have your driver (Mom or Dad) drive west or east of the river valley, just a few kilometers, up in altitude (e.g. Roquesteron).
You can find talus slopes and in cool weather, can flip Slow worms (Anguis sp.) (called “orvet” by locals), Montpellier snakes (Malpolon monspessulanus) (called “Couleuvre de Montpellier” by locals), and, my favorite, Aesculapian snakes (Zamenis longissimus) (Called “Couleuvre d'Esculape”by locals.)


PS
If you fish, there are great trout streams like the Vesube, where you can combine fishing and herping!


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