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Morning Dog Walk: A Ladder Snake Basking In The Morning Sun (With Video)

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

Walking in one of my favourite areas with Wally this morning and we spotted a Ladder Snake basking in the sun. I think it had also recently eaten a meal which is maybe why it was in no rush to move away.

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Ladder Snake - Cobra-de-escada - Zamenis scalaris
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I Didn’t Have To Look Yesterday!

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For those that don’t know anything about Rugby might not know that Saturday was a huge celebration as I watched my home nation of Wales win the 6 Nations Grand Slam (means they beat all the other 5 nations!). In Wales, this is a big deal, so to cut a long story short, Sunday wasn’t a day for me being out and about with a camera.

However, first up was a False Smooth Snake on our patio enjoying the heat of the afternoon sun (yes, I didn’t see the morning!). It couldn’t stay there as either the Dog or one of the Cats would probably see it as a new toy.

The False Smooth Snake is small, this one no longer than about 20cm. It is a venomous snake, however, due to its small size it poses no threat to a human, even if it does manage to sink its teeth in. I helped him on his way to an area outside of the garden and it did take a strike but missed!


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Morning Dog Walk: Viperine Snake Sunbathing

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

This morning I sat on the river bank letting Wally run around in the water when I spotted a Viperine in one of the river pools (the river is now dry with just pools remaining). I watched it swim to the opposite bank and it eventually climbed out to sunbathe on the rocks.

It was really tough to photograph as there was a lot of contrast between the bright sunlight and the dark rocks.

The Viperine (Natrix maura) is a small snake that spends a lot of time in the water catching fish and although you may think by the name, it is not a Viper. It’s name comes from being similar in appearance to a Viper. It is non-venomous and although when threatened it can act like a Viper and strike, it will not bite. It is Diurnal which meaning it is active during daylight only. In adult-life, they can grow to 85cm long, this particular one was no larger than about 40cm.

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Viperine Snake (Natrix maura)

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A False Smooth Snake At The House Tonight

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It was another first for me, a False Smooth Snake at the house. We had been painting around the front of the house today and dug a small trench to get paint to the bottom of a wall. The snake was using this trench to get to the rear garden.

It was just turning dark (dusk is the time the False Smooth Snakes hunt) and I only had my mobile to hand, so not great photos.

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False Smooth Snake

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Tiny Young Viperine Snake

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Yesterday I decided to walk into the village (São Marcos da Serra) to participate in a few cold beverages at the Feira do Folar (3 day Easter Festival).

The sun was shining and it was a warm day. I looked down just in time to stop myself treading on this Tiny Viperine snake enjoying the warm road surface. It was well camouflaged and at first I thought it was dead, but then I saw it´s tongue pop out.

When I picked the coin back up, it coiled like a Viper ready to strike which backed up my thoughts of being a Viperine. I did laugh as it was supposed to be threatening, but actually just looked even cuter! In adult life, they can grow up to 85cm, so it has a lot of eating to do to get to that size!

The Viperine is not actually a Viper and has no venom. It spends a lot of time in water and eats aquatic life including Frogs and Toads. If threatened can strike repeatedly like a Viper but doesn’t bite. The photos were taken on my mobile.

Baby Viperine (Natrix maura)
Baby Viperine (Natrix maura)
Baby Viperine (Natrix maura)

Today We Rescued a Ladder Snake (Video)

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Today myself and partner Emma were walking through our Neighbour’s farmland and we stopped to look in an old well. To my surprise, there was an adult Ladder Snake swimming around trying to find a way out.

The well is at least 20 feet (6 meters), if not a lot more, so there was no way the Snake was going to get out. Emma ran off to pull up a long Bamboo to rescue it.

The Bamboo was just long enough to drop down into the water and the Snake happily climbed on. After a careful raise the snake was free.

I captured some video on my mobile, it’s not great as I was a bit nervous of dropping my phone down the well.

Ladder Snakes are very common here in the hills of the Algarve as it’s the perfect habitat for them. They are non-venomous so completely harmless although if threatened can appear to be aggressive. The juveniles have a ladder pattern on their back, but this disappears with age. They can grow up to around 160cm long.

{Remember to watch in HD if possible}


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