Iberianature Forum

snake ID

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Offline Gredos

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« on: November 28, 2011, 10:25 AM »
Found my dogs barking at this snake yesterday, we are in the southern foothills of the Gredos Mountains, in Avila but very near Extremadura. it has a couple of what look like vents on its head and was making a sound as though it was inflating and deflating but with its mouth closed. It was about one and a half metres long. Quite scary !!
Can anyone tell me what it is ?

Offline quentin

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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 20:45 PM »
Really nice photo Gredos! I'm pretty sure this is a Montpellier Snake. Culebra bastarda in Spanish and Malpolon monspessulanus is it's scientific name. It has the round pupil and "fierce" expression which are characteristic of this species. They are very variable in coloration but this seems to slot into the norm. They are poisonous but have fangs in the back of their mouths so they have to have a pretty good grip to inject venom. They are unlikely to kill a human but no doubt a bite would be very uncomfortable for a while. Consequently it may be best to keep your dogs outside of striking distance! The vents were possibly it's nostrils and the inflating and deflating noise was a warning to keep your distance. Somehow most animals seem to understand this and find it decidedly scary. I recently "helped" a harmless ladder snake across a road to prevent it from being run over and it thanked me by hissing in a very unfriendly manner.

It's great to hear there are still a few snakes around despite the autumnal weather.

Andy

Offline Gredos

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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2011, 21:21 PM »
Thanks Quentin, I hope I don't meet too many ! I wouldn't harm them but this one was a bit big for my liking. We get quite a few snakes, ladder and others I haven't been able to photograph so haven't identified.