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 Post subject: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 1:31 pm 
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Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Posts: 428
Location: Belgium
Now that took quite some more work than I anticipated....

Here it is – add this to viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9418 and you have all the snakes of Europe (excluding former Soviet States), as found by my friends and me over the last 7 years or so.

! ! ! Sorry for the little amount of text and overkill of pictures, but strangely enough I was too lazy to select, once I had compiled them all………
Not all (if any…) shots are worth looking at, but at least it gives a comprehensive overview.

Taxonomy concordant with ...
Speybroeck, J.; Beukema, W.; Crochet, P.-A. (2010). A tentative species list of the European herpetofauna (Amphibia and Reptilia) — an update. Zootaxa 2492: 1-27.
;) ;) ;)

TYPHLOPIDAE (worm snakes)

worm snake (Typhlops vermicularis)

A small, shiny snake, easily mistaken for an earthworm; inconspicuous head and tiny eyes, with a pointy, rather fat tail-end to fool predators as a false head. Largely subterraneous, feeding on small invertebrates like ants, termites, .... Restricted to extreme southern SE Europe, occurring in Greece, S Bulgaria, FYROM, Albania, Montenegro and S Croatia. A photographer’s nightmare, its small size making it hard to handle and its dislike of daylight causing it to fidget without end.

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ERYCIDAE (sand boas)

Sand Boa (Eryx jaculus)

Short, fat snake, with poorly pronounced head and rather blunt tail. Pelvic girdle shows tiny remains of hind legs. Lives largely below the surface, for which it has a strong rostral scale, but also exploits existing rodent burrows, feeding in part on its original constructors. Can be found above ground, but usually found under semi-submerged stones in loose soil.

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COLUBRIDAE (colubrids)

The next genera – Hierophis, Hemorrhois, Dolichophis, Platyceps - were formerly part of the genus Coluber (in Europe
commonly assigned as whip snakes). All are very fast moving, active hunters and bite fiercely when handled. Usually rather abundant in suitable habitat. Members of the 3 first genera are more less parapatric, with one replacing the other in a comparable niche, in different parts of Europe.

Western Whip Snake (Hierophis viridiflavus)
An abundant species in France (except N), Italy and adjacent areas, including the larger Mediterranean islands Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily.

--- Hierophis viridiflavus viridiflavus

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not too far away from Rome, Italy
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same
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same
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same
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man with snake
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from Corsica, France
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habitat from Corsica
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from Sardinia, Italy
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from Sardinia, Italy
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from Sardinia, Italy
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juvenile from Sardinia, Italy

--- Hierophis viridiflavus carbonarius: Sicily, Malta, E Italy, … ; usually rather ‘dull’, uniformly black

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from Slovenia
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from S Italy
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from S Italy
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from Malta
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from Malta
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juvenile from Malta
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from Sicily

Balkan Whip Snake (Hierophis gemonensis)
Counterpart of the previous species occurring from Croatia southwards until Greece, including the larger island Crete.

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from Crete
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from Crete
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from Kythira island
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from Montenegro
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from Montenegro
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from Montenegro
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juvenile from S Greece
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juvenile from S Greece

Horse-shoe Whip Snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis)
Abundant snake in most of Spain and Portugal. Unfortunately, I don’t have that many pictures of it (yet), since I have been travelling not that often in its range as in other parts of Europe.

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subadult from Andalucia, S Spain
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juvenile from Andalucia, S Spain

Algerian Whip Snake (Hemorrhois algirus)
Originating from N Africa, this species has been introduced to the capital of Malta during WW I. Nowadays, still restricted to gardens and wasteland areas in the capital area, with the rest of the island being occupied by the western whip snake (see above).

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that’s what you get…
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herpers in habitat
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Coin-marked Snake (Hemorrhois nummifer)
Presence not really confirmed from European soil, with unconfirmed citings from Turkish Thrace (= European Turkey) and present on Asian Greek islands.

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especially young have clear markings
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Caspian Whip Snake (Dolichophis caspius)
Gets quite big (2m and more). The main land-based snake of the eastern parts of SE Europe, occurring in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, but also Montenegro, Serbia, and even as for north as Hungary.

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big adult
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from Montenegro
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from Montenegro
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young from Romania
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from Bulgaria
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from N Greece
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from N Greece

Dahl’s Whip Snake (Platyceps najadum)
Very thin, fast and beautiful. Occurs in SE Europe (Greece, S Bulgaria, Albania and up along Adriatic Coast north to Croatia. Loves hot rocky habitat with tasty lizards.

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juvenile from Samos Island (Greece) with many spots

Reddish Whip Snake (Platyceps collaris)
Like previous (former subspecies), but in Europe only in very small area in Bulgaria and (?)European Turkey. Small, but beautiful and fast as lightning.

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individual with (rather rare) interrupted dark neck saddle spot

Masked Dwarf Snake (Eirenis modestus)
Presence not really confirmed from European soil, with unconfirmed citings from Turkish Thrace (= European Turkey) and present on Asian Greek islands. Small and rather inconspicuous.

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The next genera – Elaphe, Rhinechis, Zamenis - were formerly part of the larger genus Elaphe (rat snakes). Usually more secretive than the Coluber s.l. species.

Four-lined Snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata)
Occurs in the western half of SE Europe (Croatia, Greece, …) but also locally in Italy. Quite big and strong built, but usually very calm when handled. Adults striped, young ones blotched

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adult (Montenegro 2008)
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same
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adult (Montenegro 2008)
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juvenile (Montenegro 2008)
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subadult (Montenegro 2008)
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Greece 2006
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same
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subspecies from Cycladic Islands reached adult pattern at much smaller size (here scyrensis, from Skyros 2006)
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Bulgaria 2005
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same
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subadult, Greece 2004

Blotched Snake (Elaphe sauromates)
Used to be subspecies of the former, but occurs in the eastern half of SE Europe (Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and further east). Remains blotched, also as adult, and more bity.

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adult (Greece 2004)
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juvenile (Bulgaria 2005)

Aesculapian Snake (Zamenis longissimus)
Gets 2m or more. Not special-patterned, but graceful. Occurs throughout France, N Italy, N Spain, Germany, and most of SE Europe.

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Greece 2004
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same
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juvenile (Bulgaria 2005)
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Bulgaria 2005
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Romania 2007
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Montenegro 2008
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same
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France 2011

Italian Aesculapian Snake (Zamenis lineatus)
Only S Italy and Sicily. Often striped, eye reddish.

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juvenile
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adult
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same
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subadult
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same

Leopard Snake (Zamenis situla)
Secretive beauty, living in SE Europe and parts of S Italy and Sicily. Also Malta.

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Malta 2007
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same
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young, Greece 2006
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adult, Greece 2006
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adult, Greece 2006
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other juvenile, Greece 2006
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adult, Greece 2006
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striped morph, Greece 2006
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same
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Bulgaria 2005
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same

Ladder Snake (Rhinechis scalaris)
Ladder design in juveniles fades to 2 stripes in adults. Spain, Portugal and S France.

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Spain 2010
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another from Spain 2010
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another from Spain 2010
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another from Spain 2010 with some remnants of juvenile pattern
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juvenile, France 2006
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subadult, Spain 2006
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Spain 2006

Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca)
Inconspicuous lizard eater with wide range, occupying warm spots in the north and cool mountains in the south. Small, but bity when handled.

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Belgium 2007
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Greece 2004
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juvenile Spain 2005
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Italy 2006
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Romania 2007
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Montenegro 2008
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Sicily 2010
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Slovenia 2010
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France 2011

Southern Smooth Snake (Coronella girondica)
Very similar to previous, but belly checkered. Also differs in being crepuscular or nocturnal and docile. Spain, Portugal, S France and N Italy.

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Spain 2006
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same
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France 2006
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Spain 2010
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same

Iberian False Smooth Snake (Macroprotodon brevis)
Small, usually under stones, mildly venomous. Spain (mainland) and Portugal.

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Portugal 2010
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Spain 2006
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Spain 2006 – by daylight, pupil rather cat-like but this is a nocturnal picture

Algerian False Smooth Snake (Macroprotodon cucullatus s.s.)
Introduced to the islands of Mallorca and Menorca.

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Menorca 2010
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same
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same
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another, Menorca 2010
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same
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tiny juvenile, Menorca 2010

Cat Snake (Telescopus fallax)
Secretive, nocturnal gecko hunter. Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Croatia, …

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Greece 2004
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Greece 2004
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Greece 2006
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same
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Greece 2006
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same
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juvenile, Greece 2006
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same
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Malta 2007
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same
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Greece 2007
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subspecies pallidus, Crete, Greece 2009, less marked blotches
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same
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other, subspecies pallidus, Crete, Greece 2009
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tiny juvenile, Samos, Greece 2009
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subadult, Kythira, Greece 2011
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big adult, Kythira, Greece 2011
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same
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same
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same

NATRICIDAE (“Eurasian water snakes”)
Hardly ever bite, but musk like hell.

Grass Snake (Natrix natrix)
Widespread, several subspecies have been described. Typically, amphibian eater.

--- Natrix natrix natrix
Most of Central and Eastern Europe. Lateral spots.

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Slovenia 2010
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intermediate natrix/persa Bulgaria
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intermediate natrix/persa Romania

--- Natrix natrix helvetica
Most of W Europe. Lateral bars.

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from my own country, Belgium
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same
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same
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from France

--- Natrix natrix astreptophora
S France, Spain, Portugal. Largely unmarked.

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--- Natrix natrix persa
Pale dorsolateral stripes. SE Europe

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Greece 2004
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from Skyros 2006
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pre-shed melanist
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angry melanist from Montenegro
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Samos beauty
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stripeless from Kythira
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Kythira juvenile

--- Natrix natrix schweizeri
Milos archipelago. Several morphs.

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black morph

--- Natrix natrix sicula
S Italy and Sicily. Orange snout tip.

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--- Natrix natrix corsa
Corsica. No yellow collar, bars running around body.

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same
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same

--- Natrix natrix cetti
Sardinia. Similar to corsa, although the only one I’ve seen so far, is rather weird. A rare subspecies, which took me some trips to see…

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same
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same

--- Other European subspecies, I have not (yet) photographed and are lanzai, gotlandica and fusca.

Viperine Snake (Natrix maura)
Even more aquatic, more of a fish-eater, living in SE Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, Balearics, Sardinia). Pattern sometimes like viper zigzag.

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after dinner
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juvenile
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Dice Snake (Natrix tessellata)
The SE European counterpart of the previous species – very aquatic and feeds largely on fish. Often not very beautiful. With the added anal gland smell, this is a species you don’t catch for fun, once you’ve seen enough…

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Slovenia 2010
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from Crete
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same
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other from Crete
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nocturnal fish hunter from Crete
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blacky from Crete
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same
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same
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photographing the latter
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from Switzerland

PSAMMOPHIIDAE

Rear-fanged, venomous. Big, can actively hunt big lizard, small mammals, … Can sound like a tyre loosing air for hours and act cobra-like. Head with raised “eyebrows”, which cover glands which secrete pheromones and a substance which prevents evaporation of moisture, allowing these snakes to be active in hot weather. Surprisingly, I don’t have that many shots of these “trash snakes”, commonly found on rodent-rich rubbish dumps etc.

Western Montpellier Snake (Malpolon monspessulanus)

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juvenile
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might have an Ocellated Lizard (Timon lepidus) inside. Males of the Western species typically have a dark collar behind the first part of the body.
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juvenile found in winter

Eastern Montpellier Snake (Malpolon insignitus)

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juvenile
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cobra manners...


Last edited by Jeroen Speybroeck on August 21st, 2014, 7:24 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 2:57 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:37 pm
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Another awesome post, man! Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 3:05 pm 
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Joined: August 15th, 2010, 9:46 pm
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so cool! i really dig some of those Natrix, and those leopard snakes are so gorgeous! thanks!
josh


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 3:26 pm 
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Bloody Hell!!!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 3:37 pm 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 8:09 pm
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta
That is a very sweet post, thank you.
Question: Is this all the snakes of Europe, or all the ones that you have found? I'm unfamiliar with Europe, but to find all the species in 7 years must have been no small feat. I can't imagine someone finding all the species in the US in 7 years let alone an entire continent.

Ian


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 4:00 pm 
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What a phenomenal post (and accomplishment).

Does Eryx miliaris make into the eastern "limits" of your defined range?


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 5:26 pm 
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AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! Incredible amount of work you put in there.


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 8:43 pm 
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What a titanic effort! Thanks very much - bookmarked for further reference!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 10:43 pm 
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Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
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Thanks, all!

These are in fact all the snake species there are in Europe, excluding only 2 or so which are restricted to the territory of former Soviet states (Vipera renardi, Elaphe dione). Depending on how you define Europe's borders, some more if you include the Caucasus (which I don't, as it is considered a biogeographical boundary to the southeast, together with the Ural mnts to the east).

This also means that there are obviously far less species in Europe than in the US. This is traditionally linked to presence of east-west oriented mountain chains, acting as barriers for southward refugial migration during glaciations.


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 10:56 pm 
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Incredible post, incredible achievement. Thank you.

JimM


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 11:32 pm 
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chrish wrote:
Does Eryx miliaris make into the eastern "limits" of your defined range?


No, strictly Asian =>
http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/sp ... s=miliaris


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 5:51 am 
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Quote:
This also means that there are obviously far less species in Europe than in the US. This is traditionally linked to presence of east-west oriented mountain chains, acting as barriers for southward refugial migration during glaciations.


This is a very interesting point.

Your post is not the kind of post that one can just glance at and move one. I will want to take some time to review this post again and perhaps again to try an digest it. It's kind of like trying to see El Prado in one day. Amazing!

Also, my great grandfather's family came from Begium--last name Huberty. I have always wanted to go there.


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 5:57 am 
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Very cool post! Thanks for sharing!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 12:01 pm 

Joined: June 11th, 2011, 7:31 am
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all the snakes in Europe? Vipera? nice post on the non venomous!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 12:54 pm 
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I had vowed to myself not to post today for a change but, as this post is a life-changing experience for me, that vow went out the window with my former self.

Thanks so much for compiling that an presenting it here.

btw, just by chance, would you happen to know anything about the genus Spalersophis in the Middle East or Northern Africa? ...just seems you might.

Brad


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 2:17 pm 
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this combined with the venomous snakes of europe post definitely gets my vote for EPIC POST


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 3:16 pm 
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Very nice work, Jeroen! The sand boas are the best. :D I don't know if we've ever had wild E. jaculus posted on here, come to think of it. The Montpelier Snakes are pretty sweet too, I didn't realize there were two species.


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 3:24 pm 
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Wonderful post, but obviously not all the european species.

Give us the rest of it!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 4:27 pm 
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Really impressive post!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 4:32 pm 
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Excellent photographs and snake-finding!! Wow!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 5:18 pm 
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monklet wrote:
I had vowed to myself not to post today for a change

Now that you mention it...this forum can indeed be quite addictive. I check it more often than Facebook :-)


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 5:40 pm 
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Fantastic! I find it impossible to not be impressed with convergent evolution - so many of those of have dead ringers in North America. Great stuff, really appreciate the effort!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 6:29 pm 
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i had noticed the same thing, kent. pretty incredible!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 7:25 pm 
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Very, very cool!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 12th, 2012, 1:09 am 
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Thanks to all ! It is indeed striking the level of convergent and parallel evolution in Europe and N America.

Not "all" species??? Please read the second sentence of my post ;) .
I have added this link, leading to a post which you might have missed.

So here it goes again ...

VIPERS OF EUROPE
http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9418

monklet wrote:
would you happen to know anything about the genus Spalersophis in the Middle East or Northern Africa? ...just seems you might.


Other than what they look like in guide books, not really, sorry. Will surely cross our path when I hit N Africa sooner or later.


Last edited by Jeroen Speybroeck on January 27th, 2012, 5:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 12th, 2012, 8:02 am 
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Un-friggin'-real! I won't comment separately on the Vipers post, but I'll tell you now - these are OUTSTANDING posts! I've never had the even the slightest desire to visit Europe until your posts. The variation in the Natrix is awesome and I am, as others have mentioned, in awe of the convergent and parallel evolution seen between our continents. Beautiful.

-Cole


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 12th, 2012, 8:34 am 
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Malpolon are some of my favorite snakes on the planet! Great post!


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 12th, 2012, 9:01 am 
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Kent wrote:
I find it impossible to not be impressed with convergent evolution - so many of those of have dead ringers in North America.


Likewise Kent ...and one would certainly assume close linneage but according to R. Alexander Pyron, Frank T. Burbrink, Guarino R. Colli, Adrian Nieto Montes de Oca, Laurie J. Vitt,
Caitlin A. Kuczynski, John J. Wiens that would appear not to be the case.

http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/ee/wienslab/wienspdfs/2011/Pyron_et_al_2011.pdf
Link provided graciously in another post by Jeroen.

Of course I remain suspicious of these findings as do many of us. In my case only as there are so many conflicts with assumptions based on phenotypical expression and this is a relatively new science which may well require refinement.


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 12th, 2012, 9:59 am 

Joined: November 7th, 2011, 12:36 pm
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Awesome post, thank you!
Here in my area (East-Central Italy) Hierophis viridiflavus is getting rarer and rarer every year...


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 13th, 2012, 6:30 pm 
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Awesome...

Thanks for taking us on a tour..

LOVE the sand boas..

seeing a sand boa in the wild is on my bucket list...

:beer:
Fundad


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 13th, 2012, 9:08 pm 
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Amazing post. Especially liked the sand boa. What countries have you found them in?


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 14th, 2012, 1:59 am 
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Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
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Location: Belgium
Thanks everyone!

jonathan wrote:
Amazing post. Especially liked the sand boa. What countries have you found them in?

I have only seen 4 so far, all in Greece (incl. 1 island observation), although there are a few good spots in S Bulgaria too. While you can often flip rocks for days, there are a couple of places with better chances. Never been to FYROM. No sightings in Romania since 1986. We actually herped at the site of that '86 sighting, but no luck. Probably they're still around, but large-scale agriculture is taking up huge parts of the Black Sea coast of Romania, and as such also a lot of terrain with loose, boa-friendly soil.


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 14th, 2012, 6:02 am 
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Joined: November 6th, 2010, 9:59 am
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Location: Athens, GA (Columbia, MO)
Amazing series of posts. I, like many here apparently, don't have much desire to visit Europe but these posts have altered my opinion on that. Of course, the amount of time and travel necessary to find all of these was ridiculous I'm sure.

monklet wrote:
Kent wrote:
I find it impossible to not be impressed with convergent evolution - so many of those of have dead ringers in North America.


Likewise Kent ...and one would certainly assume close linneage but according to R. Alexander Pyron, Frank T. Burbrink, Guarino R. Colli, Adrian Nieto Montes de Oca, Laurie J. Vitt,
Caitlin A. Kuczynski, John J. Wiens that would appear not to be the case.

http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/ee/wienslab/wienspdfs/2011/Pyron_et_al_2011.pdf
Link provided graciously in another post by Jeroen.

Of course I remain suspicious of these findings as do many of us. In my case only as there are so many conflicts with assumptions based on phenotypical expression and this is a relatively new science which may well require refinement.


Remain suspicious, huh? Say what you want about North American ratsnakes and kingsnakes but I don't think there is much question about these similar European and NA species not being closely related. Do you assume that green tree pythons and emerald tree boas are closely related due to their similar appearance? It's convergent evolution (similar traits in unrelated lineages) as Kent said, due to similar selection pressure from occupying similar habitats, feeding on similar prey, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: all snake species of Europe - an overview in photographs
PostPosted: January 14th, 2012, 7:41 am 
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Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Posts: 428
Location: Belgium
I'd say...

racers: convergent
water lovers (Natrix ~ Thamnophis): parallel


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